Page 13: Engineer by day, wild artist by night

Page 13: Engineer by day, wild artist by night

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - John Walrod is an unassuming engineer by day.

"I have an engineering degree from Mississippi State. For the last 30 years or so, I've designed advanced sensor systems for the military," said Walrod.

His alter ego, Dr. von Walrod, specializes in steam punk curiosities. It's what he calls mad science and Neo-Victorian engineering. According to Dr. von Walrod's biography, he creates assemblage art or machines from odd bits, found objects, and, to some minds, useless old junk.

"Dr. von Walrod is a character who builds unusual creations sort of from the science fiction realm. Creative  imagination for functional art," Walrod said.

It's serious art, and a lot of people collect Dr. von Walrod's work. The steam punk movement is very popular with deep historical roots in the industrial Victorian era.

"It's a lot of brass, silver plate metal, wood, glass, a lot of things that were available in the late 1800s," Walrod said.

The good doctor is very whimsical about his art, posting signs like "Warning: This art may freak out your friends, family, and pets" or "Not recommended for folks who have lost their youth or sense of humor" around his laboratory or gallery at Bay Emporium in Old Town Bay St. Louis.

He's like a treasure hunter when looking for materials to turn into machine sculptures.

"Half the job is the search. I'm constantly in antique stores or at yard sales, flea markets, and estate sales quite often," says Walrod.

You can see his unique sculptures at Bay Emporium in Bay St. Louis.

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