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Newhall mechanic turns crank cases into art

Posted: August 24, 2014 10:41 p.m.
Updated: August 24, 2014 10:41 p.m.

Artist Steve Jasik spins his wind fans made from recycled car parts - radiator fans, cam shafts and brake disks - displayed at German Autohaus body shop in Newhall. Signal photo by Dan Watson.

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The floor of the German Autohaus body shop garage in Newhall is littered with what you would expect — a crankshaft here, an engine block there.

What makes the shop so unique, however, is how those parts are arranged.

Over here, there’s a coffee table made of welded crank cases. And over there is another table made out of “rotors and some springs that are welded and powder-coated,” says its creator, “and there’s four of them with a piece of glass that sits on them.

“This is the type of art I do,” says Steve Jasik, who is both a mechanic and the owner of German Autohaus.
He’s more than that, though. Jasik is a car sculptor.

But his sculptures don’t always come on four wheels, or even two. Jasik say the real market for car sculpture is people wanting unique pieces of metal art for their homes.

“My biggest art thing I do is recycled art from car parts,” Jasik said.

Among his car art exhibits are a flower crafted from auto parts, a VW engine case made out of magnesium and a recycled gum ball machine filled up with Hot Wheels toy cars.

Jasik acknowledges, modestly, that his art could go for quite a bit of money.

“But,” he said, “here’s the thing ... I’ve been doing this over 10 years. I’ve never sold a single one because if I sell it, I want $5,000 for it. The problem is, the people who want them are car guys and they tell me, ‘I’ll just make one myself.’

“And, to prove (their) point, they do,” he said.

But Jasik says a wealthier clientele than “car guys” is starting to wake up to the value of car sculpture.

“Now Hollywood is starting to catch up,” he said about the emerging car art market. “I’ve made couches out of rear ends of cars.”

Jasik sometimes takes his work on the road for art shows and performance art opportunities.

“I did live art for downtown Newhall,” he said, noting he was one of 11 artists to participate in one of the city’s ArtSlam events as part of its “Thursdays@Newhall” series.

He was the only artist, he said, whose canvas was a Volkswagen Bug.

“They had runway models. So I had an idea. I thought, ‘Hey, how many models can fit in one Bug?’”

He keeps the answer to that question tucked away in a scrapbook of his art, squashed under spark plugs and brake pads.
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