A child's imagination isn't dependent on being surrounded by captivating wonders -- if it were, you'd be an abject failure for not having grown up in Arlington. For a visionary craftsman straight out of nowhere, check out Dustin Wallace.
The son of a mechanic and himself a working machinist, Wallace is a Tech art-school grad who creates fantastical metal objects that are at once ornate yet totally fierce; now living in Lubbock, he grew up sci fi-obsessed halfway between Abilene and Odessa in Spade, a miniscule plot bearing the you're-not-even-a-town label of "census-designated place". The standout series is "Robotagami": bendable/pose-able robots cut by waterjet from single sheets of stainless steel, brass, or copper, resulting in everything from his first design -- an Alien-like, long-tailed, spike-headed wraith -- to the latest, a four-legged chimera that's a cross between "a human, an armadillo, and a pill bug", possibly conceived under the influence of roly peyote. Wallace also crafts gear-shaped rings, weight-shaped pendants, and other polished metal mewelry, as well as practical items like a bartender-grade bottle opener with his signature reptilian-spine cut into the handle, and the stainless steel Bottle Opener Ring, custom cut like a wedding band -- signifying a marriage that, regardless of your religion, you'll be very Catholic about when it comes to divorce.
Wallace's piece de resistance is the 17in-tall "Homage 1.0", a jet-to-robotic humanoid conversion sculpture currently on display in a Little Rock art museum, though a limited run of 100 replicas are available for purchase -- an artful step up from abject failures who still surround themselves with the most captivating wonders of all, Transformers.