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Life & Work with GAD Art & Fabrication

Today we’d like to introduce you to GAD Art & Fabrication.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My father, Gonzalo Algarate, was born and raised in Montevideo, Uruguay. He moved to the United States in 1980s. He began working as a studio manager for Artist Robert Graham, where he was trained in the art of sculpting, lost-wax process, and bronze patinas/finishes from the year 1984 until 1997. During those years he worked on various civic monuments, including but not limited to: The Olympic Gateway, The Joe Louis Memorial, Charlie Parker Memorial, Source Figure, Duke Ellington Memorial, Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, and The Great Bronze Doors of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. In 1997 he decided to open his own shop under the name GA Designs where he branched out into metal fabrication, creating custom handcrafted furniture and architectural elements for a variety of Los Angeles-based interior designers, architects, artists, etc. but, unfortunately, had to close shop in 2008 due to the economic recession. He continued to work on his sculptural art as well as paintings and participated in smaller projects until 2018, when my brother, father, and I decided to reopen the same metal fabrication studio under the name GAD Art & Fabrication. Now, we are a three-person team and operate as such.

My background is photography but I transitioned to textile/weaving. I studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Fiber and Material Studies Department and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. In my own time, I create small handwoven wall hangings and incorporate metal into those art pieces. In the studio, I focus my time on perfecting the art of patina and making artistic surfaces on metal.

Marcelo Algarate’s background is drawing and music. He studied at the LA Film Institute where he studied sound engineering. He plays guitar and records when not in the studio. In the studio, much of his time is spent on creating shop drawings for clients, welding, and doing surface work on pieces.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Like many other small businesses, we are not immune to struggles through the process of starting up. I can say, though, that we have experienced better times rather than hardships. After announcing our reopening in 2019, we were able to work with the clients my father previously worked with when he had GA Designs. That helped boost our business and started getting our foot in the door with other clients.

After the tail end of the pandemic, we saw a decrease in work demand. During that time, I received fewer calls and emails from potentially new clients. Working around that has been difficult but it does help to be active on social media in order to advertise our artistic and fabrication capabilities.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We are a family-owned and operated artisanal and luxury metal fabrication studio. We specialize in producing handcrafted furniture, architectural elements, art, patinas and finishes for a variety of architectural firms, interior designers, artists, furniture designers, and art advisors, etc. I’d say we are most known for our immediate approach to problem-solving and our careful attention to detail. Oftentimes, a client will come to us with a design and won’t understand how their piece will be engineered or how it will function – we are able to give them quick ideas and solutions to their concerns and explain how their pieces will be fabricated and assembled.

What sets us apart from other metal fabricators is that we have more of an eye for artistic design. I think it helps that all three of us are artists. Designers often choose us to fabricate their pieces because we are consistent and detail-oriented and our finishes are refined and delicate. We enjoy working with people/companies that design more sculptural and artistic furniture pieces or architectural components.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
What I like best about Los Angeles is that there is an expansion of environments that allow for diversity in creative expression. Because LA is a large city, you can’t help but see different forms of art everywhere, from architecture to fashion. I think that’s the most inspiring part of this city; even if we find an individual or a business that is in the same line of work as us, we are all set apart from one another because each one of us has a specific style.

What I enjoy least about our city is the traffic and how long it takes to get from point A to point B. And the smog.

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