Scraps of metal pieces, all shapes and sizes, adorned Michael Marras’ worktable in Firestone Park. Various machines surrounded the space and Marras jumped to each one with intense focus.
This is his studio space, small but efficient for the local artist who was born and raised in Akron, but who came home, about a year ago, from Florida. Michael Marras earned a degree in computer animation from Full Sail University, and has a background in both 2D and 3D design. More recently, he began working with metal, creating unique and intricate metal sculptures.
“When I was in Florida, I got an apprenticeship with (local artist) Marcos Cruz and he showed me how to weld. He is an engineer and would describe his metal work on a molecular level,” Marras said, sitting in one of those old-school tiny school desk chairs, the ones with the desk attached to it. “At the time, I didn’t really understand it all, but now I pick up on those things he mentioned. He would talk about how metals would react when welded together in certain situations. It has given me an edge in how I construct my work.”
Marras said he has fine-tuned his work and doesn’t waste as many supplies, which are abundant for him compared to Florida.
“It’s a lot easier to be a metal sculptor based on the metal and junkyard access here, and things don’t rust as easily in Orlando,” he added.
Marras isn’t really sure when his passion for art began, but he said he was “always that kid who could draw” and that somehow his path led him to becoming an artist, no matter how many times he tried to switch to other majors or careers.
“I usually got forced back into it (art), either suddenly or violently thrown,” he said, smiling. “I was actually going to school for recording arts, and thought that maybe this isn’t what I should be doing. I took some time off and got some recommendations and then went into computer animation. I think, even if I gave up, I would have been pushed into art.”
Recently, Marras has seen some success in Akron with his pieces. He took part in Downtown Akron Partnership’s first ever Akron Art Prize, a contest where more than 135 artists entered and finalists were voted on by the public. Marras was a runner-up in the contest with his submission, “Wolfboy,” a realistic metal, wolf sculpture.
In addition, Don Drumm studio has his pieces for sale at the gallery, and he plans to have a March showing in a new space, Gallery 15.
“Everyone starts somewhere, and there is a lot of potential here to grow. It drives me to do more,” Marras said. “Some of the best advice I have ever gotten from artists is to try to have your work be able to be identified amongst everyone else’s. It’s one thing I strive to do.”
He said his goals are very similar to any young artist: to sustain himself and to develop a home base. Marras also said finding the motivation to push through and be creative is always a struggle, but he’s up to the challenge.
Waiting around for inspiration isn’t something Michael Marras counts on, and it’s more about constantly creating to keep going.
“Take what you aren’t happy with and push through and make it look good. Be happy with it,” he said. “It’s hard when you hit that creative wall and you don’t know what you’re making or why.”
“With my art, there is a sense of control I have over it and no one can tell me if I’m right or wrong. I’m limited by nothing,” he added.
Marras’ work will be a part of “Sand and Steel,” a gallery exhibit that opens March 2 at Gallery 15, located in downtown Akron. For more information, please visit the Facebook event page.
For more information about Michael Marras, visit his website http://mwmarras.com/.