PHUKET: A thriving little business in Patong called “Metal Arts” produces metal sculptures for customers from Australia, Europe, America and more. Their most recent projects include painstakingly assembled rideable motorcycle sculptures. Currently, there is one at Jungceylon priced at 130,000 baht.
Mr Sornthong Yimyai, owner of Metal Arts, has a vocational certificate in mechanics and has been creating metalwork projects for over 10 years.
“The business is going quite well so far. We receive orders all year round. Right now we are making a motorcycle sculpture for a customer from Australia,” Sornthong said.
In a warehouse in Wichit subdistrict on Chaofa East Road, Metal Arts has created hundreds of metal models, ranging from 10 centimeters to 2.8 meters in size, and costing between 1,000 and 150,000 baht. The shop also takes custom orders.
“Most of our customers are from Australia, and some are from Europe and America. Some of them order the artwork for reselling, while others use the pieces for house or garden decorations. There have been a few orders from Thais, but not many. They’re usually for Thai students who want to study metal construction methods,” explained Sornthong.
Metal Arts uses various brands of secondhand, 125 to 150cc motorbikes to build the metal works of art. The motorbikes have hand clutches. They don’t use bikes with automatic transmissions because they would be too heavy to ride after the metal sculpture work is added. It usually takes them about a month to finish due to the high level of detail that goes into each sculpture.
Asked if it was legal to ride the sculpture on public roads, Sornthong replied, “I could not say this kind of motorbike is legal because it’s modified. These are works of art; [but] I don’t think police would arrest you for riding them.”
— Chutharat Plerin
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