Hot Rod to Happiness: Along the Way

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We all see the world, and everything in it; in our own way.
Where some see what's in a junkyard as trash, others see it as an art supply center.
It's what makes us unique.

In this edition, we travel 'Along the Way' to the Northern Hills, to meet an artist whose work is one of a kind.

Just outside Belle Fourche city limits, lives an artist with a greeter at the edge of the driveway.

J.B. Hoffman says, "I call him the Cheesey Cat cause he's got a big smile, He's a 54 Nash grill, some 24 Chevy Headlights."

And inside the one stall garage that serves as his workshop

Artist J.B. Hoffman says, "I pick a lot of junk piles, you know the old farms and I actually go to the landfill"

He takes objects with no logical connection, and creates art.

Artist JB Hoffman, "And when people look at it and react by laughing, I think ya know most people's art doesn't make people laugh."

But that's what he wants, art that makes people feel good when they see it, like this piece, The Gypsy Woman.

"Ford hubcap, piece of a hairdryer, an old car headlight, motorcycle primary chain. I think this was off a refrigerator. This was part of an old baby carriage. Her arms were table legs," says Hoffman.

And then there's The Honker, featuring an old car horn.

Hoffman says, "Harley Sportster gas tank, the tail feather was the seat off an old pedal grinder, a V8 emblem from a Chevrolet another one from a Plymouth."

The Warbird has a way of catching your eye...making no sense until all parts are combined.

Hoffman says, : "He's mostly parts from old toys, the main part was a chain guard from some kind of a pedal toy, these are from a tricycle. This is a finial from a ridge on an old barn, boat prop."

The Board Track Racer is based on a photo, and while not quite to scale, he estimates 70 hours of work. And while some people ask: no it doesn't actually run.

J.B. Hoffman says, "A replica of a late teens board track racer, when race tracks were made out of lumber and the motorcycles, actual ones had no brakes and no throttle, they were just wide open," he says.

A lot of his creations somehow incorporate transportation of some sort, so it's no surprise he collects license plates too , and by now, JB has quite a few.

Hoffman says, "every year of South Dakota, the metal ones starting from 1913, and before that they were leather and I have one of those."

But his pride and joy is this hot rod. He estimates it took portions of 50 cars, a golf cart, and some farm machinery.

"A lot of welding, and grinding and fitting, and engineering went into this car," he says.

And yep this baby starts like a gem.

He says it took him parts of ten years to build this car. It's one of a kind, just like him.

J.B. Hoffman says, "Even the body is parts from about 10 different old fords, the cowl was a Model A Sedan that I cut down and the back of tub was a Model T Touring Car."

And he drives it regularly around town. Because the road to happiness is different for everyone, and so is the way we drive to get there.

So why did he start building this stuff? He says once you accumulate enough stuff, you've gotta figure out something to do with, and he chose to make art.

If you've met someone cool "Along the Way" please call or e-mail us to let us know.