Scrap metal Spitfire created by Rainham artist set for TV screens
- Credit: Otis Griffith
Sculptor Otis Griffith has never taken on such a project in his 25 years of creating metal art.
But with his latest creation, a 8ft wingspan Spitfire plane, the self-taught welder tested himself like never before.
After some 400 hours in his garage over recent months, Otis - who lives in Rainham - stands proudly before what he believes is "by far my most exciting and complex piece".
Created for a purpose, the Spitfire was commissioned for an upcoming episode of television show Scrap Kings. This will be Otis' second appearance on the show.
His first - which aired in October - involved the Park Bench Fish, a large marine themed sculpture.
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Otis explained how the Spitfire came together: "One side is scrap sheet metal boiler housings, car body and floor panels and even parts from an old park bench. The other is made from mechanical parts and car components, including cogs, spanners and spark plugs. I created it in three parts as I knew it would be heavy."
Two parts - with the wings as one piece - was the original intention, but it had to be broken apart due to not fitting in the electroplater.
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What makes this feat all the more impressive is that this is Otis' hobby, a time-consuming love that has to be balanced with his teaching commitments at Havering's New City College (where he lectures in electrical installations).
Despite this busy schedule, there's no doubt he considers the long hours time well spent: "Often I'll lose track of time. Before long I realise that I’ve already been in my garage for nine or ten hours."
The graft is worth the reward, as proven by a successful unveiling: "The creators of Scrap Kings followed me from start to finish. I had sent snippets to the man who commissioned it, but when they filmed the reveal he and his daughter didn’t know what it would look like.”
With his schedule now somewhat freer, Otis can work on commissions that were put on hold.
As for his next grand design, the welder teased plans for an “iconic, triple aircraft sculpture”.
Quite the journey for a man who started welding after making a metal stick candle holder for his sister all those years ago.
To contact Otis, visit otis-art.co.uk/