LEWISTON, Cache County — Malen Pierson grabs a rusty wrench from a pile of similarly oxidized junk and moves it deftly into place. After a couple of blinding flashes from the welding torch, it is no longer a wrench, but the side of a goat’s face.
The metal goat sculpture’s face is one of Pierson’s most popular pieces among his found-metal art — an art form he helped pioneer and popularize.
Pierson has been a professional, full-time artist for more than 20 years. His work has been purchased by a who’s-who list of celebrities that includes Johnny Depp, Queen Latifah, Robert Redford and Martha Stewart and can be found for sale in galleries across the world.
Many of Pierson’s big-time clients aren’t just interested in his art, but in befriending the artist as well. When he’s not fly-fishing with patrons in Bolivia, attending World Series games or shooting $100,000 shotguns with English royalty, the award-winning, globe-trotting artist lives in this tiny Northern Utah town, population: 1,759.
“I love small towns,” he said, explaining how the privacy of a small community allows the outgoing and sociable 48-year-old artist to more easily focus on his work.
Pierson’s home — and backyard workshop — are just a few blocks from Lewiston’s Main Street. Colorful skis line the fence around an old ’20s-era train station that Pierson converted into a house, where he lives with his wife and two teenage children. A tall, rusted metal sculpture of a child swinging in the hands of his parents sits in the front yard, and beyond a similarly artistic-looking front gate, a massive 12-foot metal fly with a World War II-era bombshell for a body and satellite…