Making Icons and Ideas Come Alive
Bob Augello is the man to see if a pontoon boat springs a leak. A local welder, he owns and operates Augello’s Welding and Fabrication on State Highway MM in Sunrise Beach. He can also make parts when they become unavailable. His welding business has grown and prospered since he opened in 2011. In 2020, he’s busier than ever.
Augello is also the craftsman who brought to life a rehabilitation center in the basement at Laurie Care Center. Known as Genesis Rehabilitation, the space is striking for its industrial design under the direction of District Administrator Lance Smith and for the welding talent that brought that vision to life.
Augello came by his welding talent naturally. His family has been in the welding business in Chicago since the 1950s. At age 14, Augello began work in the family shop, and after graduating from high school, worked there full-time. He also studied music and earned an associate’s degree in the arts. His plan was to complete college study and find a way to make music his career.
A vacation trip to Lake of the Ozarks changed those plans. Augello and his wife visited the Lake during July 4th in 2011. Before Labor Day, they had found a place to live and Augello had a job. He soon realized, however, he could use his welding skills to provide a home for his family. A son and a daughter, now 5 and 2, have turned a couple into a family of four, and those children have taken to the Lake life. Their favorite place, according to their dad, is Ha Ha Tonka where they love to walk the trails and see the ruins.
Some of Augello’s welding work is a nod to those children. His son has a bit of space he calls “the shop,” the same word his dad uses to describe his workspace on MM, and like many little boys, Augello boy is fascinated by robots so he built a functional robot with the open, loving little face of Wall-E. He also built a larger, heavier robot in steel with the fanciful name of Moneybags. Using a bronze welding rod and stainless steel, Augello burnished the edges to a polished gold. The arms and legs are in motion as if Moneybags is in charge, on his way to make a deal.
Family is not the only inspiration for Augello’s ideas. He has many, and some of them become an itch to create, to figure out how to bring them to life, to make them tangible. His aluminum sculpture of Rocky Balboa, underdog and hero of the award-winning Rocky movie released in 1976, began just that way. While Augello doesn’t call himself a sculptor, he nevertheless wanted to sculpt. He realized that single sheets of aluminum could be stacked to render form and shape, and unlike clay, aluminum was in his skill set. The result is art. Rocky in metal is immediately recognizable. Aluminum Rocky is also like an award. It shines and gleams.
Two-dimensional portraits in etched or carved metal are part of Augello’s artistic portfolio as well. One of these is titled Duncan Muscle — Duncan in honor of an actual comedian and muscle in honor of the sculpted body shown three times, each version overlaid on the other, almost as if the images are a body in motion or even a graphic representation of the evolution of a man. The overall effect is of a living, breathing strong man.
Another of these portraits is of Ronda Rousey, one of the first female professional wrestlers. The focus for this one is the solemn, determined expression of a woman who might otherwise have been seen simply as an object of beauty. Her career proves she’s more. However lovely she may be, she’s tough, too.
One more portrait is of Kurt Cobain who, like Augello, played guitar. Working from photos for each of his portraits on metal, his subjects are brought to life. The clarity and accuracy prove the artist’s admiration for his subjects.
Over the winter stretch as 2020 transitions into 2021, Augello plans to begin his next functional work of art: a car built piece by piece. He intends to be behind the wheel in about a year after he begins the flat black, sleek design that hints at big motors and the potential for speed under the hood.
To see Augello’s art, visit weldingatthelake.com or augelloswelding.com. Both will take online visitors to the same home page where they can choose another page devoted to art.
363 State Highway MM
Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.