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Your Stories: Preston Farabow

4:20 PM, Apr 10, 2013   |    comments
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The thrill of NASCAR combined with a fire and sheet metal show makes for an interesting job. One Knoxville man has this job, but he does so much more.

Amidst the rip and the roar of tires shredding, gears shifting, hearts pounding, is Preston Farabow.

"You know there's a race going on. There's all this noise and I'm throwing sparks and parts are flying," says Farabow.

Preston has nothing to do with the race itself. He is a side show.

"I've built sculpture at the Daytona 500 a couple times, for Bristol Motor Speedway," says Farabow.

He uses discarded NASCAR parts to create beautiful pieces of art, right there at the track.

"I had a wreck during a race at Charlotte Motor Speedway one year and debris from the wreckage flew over the fence and landed at my feet and I was able to reach down and pick it up and build it straight into my sculpture," says Farabow.

This is not the bulk of his business, though. In his shop in North Knoxville. He hammers, torches and twists metal.

"I work with mild steel, stainless steel, copper," says Farabow.

And he does a lot of residential work, making light fixtures and custom stair railing. "The meat and potatoes of my business is ornamental iron work. I do a lot of blacksmithing," says Farabow.

It doesn't stop there. He also hooked up with Red Bull at Bonnaroo years ago and that relationship grew.

"I did a series of five pieces for them out of wreckage from an IndyCar," says Farabow.

And he's done a piece just for Tennessee too. "I was commissioned by the State of Tennessee to do a piece for a welcome center in Middle Tennessee and I did a large sundial," says Farabow.

Preston even dabbles in fashion, rugged fashion. "I make belt buckles out of the lug nuts that are left over after a race," says Farabow.

Preston has been in to cars since he was a boy. "Loved to be outside, loved fast go-carts and fast things, kind of developed an interest in cars and motorcycles when I was young," says Farabow.

And he was in to art. So, he melded the two and now is loving every minute of his life.

His career. "I'll never claim to be a particularly savvy business person. I would much rather give my work away to people who appreciate it than make pretty stuff for rich people," says Farabow.

His kids. "My children inspire me most of all. I think that they still have that creative eye and they have that sense of imagination that sometimes I lose."

East Tennessee. "A lot of my friends that were artists as well felt like they had to move to New York or LA or Seattle to be discovered or to make a living as an artist and I fought tooth and nail to stay here because I love the area so much," says Farabow.

Preston Farabow plays with fire and car parts, but also takes time to stop and create.

One of Your Stories. There's no place like this one.




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