AURORA, Isabela: Famous 35-year-old metal sculptor Lucky Salayog conceptualizes artwork out of scraps or junk in his home in Barangay Malasin here.

Saying that it is out of love and passion, Salayog said he draws inspiration from his 33-year-old wife Delilah and six-year-old daughter Sem Kylie in making backbreaking metal sculptures and artworks in the past nine years.

Metal art sculptor Lucky Salayog with former president Rodrigo Duterte. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Metal art sculptor Lucky Salayog with former president Rodrigo Duterte. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Salayog believes his architecture course, which he failed to finish, also helped him in doing artwork although he was supposed to take fine arts.

"These junk materials are cluttered for many but these are treasures waiting to be used," he said, who decided to settle for good back in his hometown after trying his luck and renting in different places in Caloocan City and Rizal in Metro Manila.

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A self-taught metal sculpture artist for the past nine years, Salayog says he started his passion for arts initially through painting and making handicrafts out of scraps since he was in Grade 4.

"I would make a lampshade out of coconut shells and borrow equipment from relatives to finish the work," he said, adding that the secret is good planning before execution of work.

He reminisced his biggest "achievement" when he made and presented to President Rodrigo Duterte a metal sculptor showing the Chief Executive aiming a gun in February 2020.

His paintings include birds and windmills but he said he loves metal sculpture more with a series of commissioned works he finished such as the metal monument of the late Isabela Gov. Benjamin Dy, Cabatuan Mayor Charlton Uy, Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa and other personalities.

He once worked on a table designed like a trireme, an ancient vessel and a type of galley that was used by the ancient maritime civilizations of the Mediterranean Sea, which he described as kinetic art.

He usually uses scraps such as old doorknobs, springs, chains, motorcycle or bicycle wheels, cabinet hinges, motors, broken computer printers, flat irons, electric fans and other junk items.

Salayog's works got a boost when he got mentoring lessons from retired Philippine National Police Academy Director Gilberto DC Cruz, who collaborated with him in producing a "terminator" out of bicycle parts, a Jesus Christ sculpture made out of old guns and parts, and the sculpture of Duterte.

After he sold 20 junk sculptures in exhibits, he decided to work on bigger sculptures, which he called modern robots. These include sculptures of "metal men" playing classical instruments such as a violin, cello, flute, among others.

Inheriting his father's penchant for making furniture, Salayog said he would make creative work on wood but eventually settled on metal artwork too.

When her mother went abroad as a domestic helper, Salayog said his father found a second wife and eventually left them, forcing him to earn money from his hard work. He learned to make furniture and shoe repair and worked as a delivery truck helper.

He said he turned challenges into his favor and earned enough money for the family.