If you’ve ever been to hipster hangouts such as Lola Coffee or LUX/Pane Bianco in Central Phoenix, you might have noticed the rugged, rusted-steel metalwork sprinkled throughout the spaces. Or if you’ve ever stayed at the posh JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort, you may have stumbled across a piece of freestanding lobby art best described as a massive metal orb wrapped with flame-like tentacles. Either way, have you ever wondered who the torch-wielding artist behind these monumental masterpieces is?
Meet Pete Deise, the Valley’s go-to artist for sky-high steel sculptures and beautifully blowtorched metalwork and signage. An LA native who spent several years working as a lifeguard, Deise says much of his artwork is inspired by the power and ever-shifting organic shapes of the ocean. Combined with Deise’s muscular, hand-hammered and fire-blackened aesthetic, and you end up with an instantly recognizable piece of art.
See a full slideshow of Pete Deise’s most recognizable works, as well as some snapshots of the artist at work, after the jump.
In fact, Deise himself even looks the part, with his bold shock of unruly red hair, and a face that seems permanently smudged with charcoal streaks. In fact, if you saw him stomping down the street, you might mistake him for a fireman fresh from dousing a five-alarm inferno. So next time you’re sitting there sipping your non-fat extra-hot decaf triple latte, take a moment to soak in a true piece of handcrafted perfection.