We were always told as children never to play with sharp objects and fire, the good children obeyed this instruction, whilst others knew that by rebelling, aside from consequence, they would discover the answers to their most profound questions. Mark Kelman is that child.
There’s a smell of acetone at Kelwood, the machinery sending vibrations through the concrete floor as sunlight seeps through the garage slated window. Mark shuffles back and forth between his workers, meticulously checking all is in order. There is a reverence for him that his subordinates hold, looking to him as a mentor. A welding helmet, emblazoned with airbrushed pistons churning mid-stroke, sit on a work bench.
Leaning forward, dirt marks marring his face, his lanky frame covered in loose fitting jeans and a black t-shirt, Mark focuses as he grinds the metal, concentrating as light shrapnel’s around him. There is a stoic nature to him, one of resilience and a mild stubbornness, of a man set strongly in his ways, he looks up only for his eyes to meet his wife Cheryl, a smile creeps along his face and there seems to be peace. His workspace is that of a boy whose room is cluttered with knickknacks. Wire hangs tamely from racks on the wall, contrasted by the array of sculpted metal that lies sporadically on the floor. He works his way through the chaos with ease, as if a path is laid out that only he can see.
Mark is a hardworking man, accustomed to farm life as a boy, being hands on always took precedence to academics, proving that the convention of being an office jockey is the only way to success is mistaken. His office is small. Enclosed in cement, there are designs pinned to a board, scrawled in rough. Reminiscing as he talks, he relays his tale of becoming the artisan and the metal man he is today. From humble beginnings in a garage to running the growing business that is Kelwood.
Mark Kelman is the boy standing in front of the Iron Giant, eyes large and lost in wonder, the endless possibilities of the world lying at the feet of the gargantuan, stepping forward and ascending it, leading it forward at his command. Strong headed and unrelenting in his vision of proving that anything is possible, that the boy with a dream has emerged as the Metal Man.
All images courtesy of SHF
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