Art of Drive: Michael Ulman Automotive Sculptures | Part 2
Continued From Part 1.
You did some work on Mad Max: Fury Road, how did that happen and what was it like?
I am very fortunate to be represented by a gallery in southern California called Device. At the time they were contacted by a production company looking for artists to work on a feature film in Australia. My name was passed along and it wasn't too long before I was contacted by George Miller and his team on a conference call. They asked me if I had ever heard of the Mad Max series and I almost lost my mind. Mad Max has and will always be one of my favorite movie series of all time, and for them to offer me the opportunity to work on the one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2016 was surreal beyond my wildest dreams.
I travelled to Sydney for three months to work with a team of artists to help design, build, create and implement a series of weapons, vehicle modifications and eventually the flaming-throwing guitar that ultimately became one of the focal points of the movie.
It was such an incredible honour to be part of this talented design team, truly an opportunity of a lifetime. The film won six Oscars and numerous other international film awards.
Are you a car/bike enthusiast? Do you have specific favourites?
I am an enthusiast, with far too many favorites to have a specific. I have a broad and far reaching admiration for cars and motorcycles from their design to their mechanics, how they run, how powerful they are and most importantly how they sound. Exposed linkages, gears, belts, superchargers. I like old ‘20s race cars, old sling shot dragsters, Porsche, anything that goes fast and utilises excessive horsepower. My likes are all over the place. I have a few real motorcycles, a ‘69 BSA, ‘72 Honda 350 and an Aermacchi, each with some modifications that I've made. My brother and I bought a ‘72 VW Type 3 ‘squareback’ and are slowly working to restoring it into something pretty badass, but I need to sell some work in order to make that project happen.
What projects are you currently working on?
In the vehicle department, I am currently working on another hot rod, which I’ve already named ‘Dillinger’. I have three new motorcycles in the works; an old Ducati sport bike, a bobber and a three wheeled Morgan named ‘Freeman’.
I also have a very extensive series of female sculptures that I have been working on for last five years. They are called ‘The Harem’ and they are my vision for creating something a bit different than the hot rods and motorcycles that I’ve worked on for years. The femmes are elegant, but each with their own identity and unmistakable attitude.
In addition, I have several private commissions, including a design and fabrication of metal furniture, light tables, landscape trellis, steampunk art, and a recently completed Astronomical steampunk clock for a restaurant opening in a couple months.
It's important for me to maintain numerous projects all at the same time. It allows me to stay busy without getting stuck on a particular project. I can't always predict when I will find a specific piece that I'm looking for, so by having lots of options to be creative I can jump from my piece to the next.
What is next for you?
I just had a solo show on March 30th at Northeastern University (my alma mater), in their 360 Gallery Displaying my ‘Harem’ Collection of female sculptures. The Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA will be displaying my work in their Steampunk exhibit and the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA will showcase some of my motorcycle sculptures later this year.
As for future work, I would really like to work on another film designing and fabricating sculptures. I had such an incredible time working on Mad Max, and feel like that is an industry that I could really shine.
In addition, I am always on the lookout for a gallery that would be interested in representing me and my work, but in the meantime I continue to work on getting my name out there and creating opportunities to show my art in front of more people in more cities across the globe.
I was incredibly fortunate that the CEO of Nike in Portland, Oregon bought several of my motorcycle sculptures for a private gallery. Hopefully, I can continue to keep things moving in a positive direction!
A film was just completed at my Roslindale Studio by a songwriter who wanted to show how frustratingly long it could take when you cannot come up with an idea but have the best pieces to work from. You can watch the video on youtube, the band is Smart Kids and the song is ‘Good Citizen’.