For the second year in a row, Mitchell blacksmith Clark Martinek will have one of his original, handcrafted pieces on display at the SculptureWalk in Sioux Falls.
"This is nuts. The excitement level is like through the roof," Martinek said. "I am just honored to be a part of such a huge event."
To add to his excitement his sculpture, "Battle of Perception," is one of 10 sculptures presented the Best of Show II award this year. Martinek was just happy to be one of the artists accepted for the walk, and the award blew him away.
His sculpture can be interpreted differently from different perspectives. At some angles the piece can be seen as a heart and at others a chaotic twist of lines.
"All of my sculptures are inspired one way or another either by nature or by love," he said. "It takes a lot of love to be a blacksmith artist."
Martinek's sculpture is on display on 11th Street and Main Avenue in downtown Sioux Falls until May 2019. The public is invited to vote for its favorite sculpture from now until September. Ballots are available on Phillips Avenue or online. The sculpture that collects the most votes is the "People's Choice Award" and will be purchased by the city of Sioux Falls to be put on permanent display.
When he isn't traveling to art shows and delivering his art, Martinek can be found in his Mitchell studio, Tough and Twisted Blacksmithing, forging red hot metal into beautiful works of art. "He's extremely passionate about what he does," Martinek's wife, Charola, said. "And it shows in his work."
What started as a hobby over 15 years ago has now become a passion and a career.
"Here I am forging professionally, full-time," Martinek said. "It's my dream come true, definitely."