I began my sculpting career in 1968, at the age of thirteen. My parents, in their infinite wisdom, probably realized that young Greg was not destined for academics, or possibly the ability to hold a Normal Job. They saw in me, a spark of enthusiasm at a craft show, as I watched a torch-wielding sculptor joining together nuts, bolts and scraps of steel into whimsical flying machines. I was hooked. Even without much begging, my Christmas gift that year was an acetylene torch set and the rest is history.
It did not take long before I was creating marketable sculptures that I sold to local gift shops and craft galleries in my hometown of Manhattan Beach, CA. I began attending and displaying at numerous craft shows throughout Southern California. I learned quickly to pay attention to my customers comments, using the information to guide me in creating sculptures that had market appeal.
Humor became a focus very early in my sculptures, a smile or chuckle from a customer was good, outright laughter was the best. I see comedy in almost every situation in life, and I choose to aim at this, not the negative. I will do my best to keep you smiling.
In the summer of 1972, while still in high school, I opened a retail store in the Old Towne Mall in Torrance, CA. These were formative years. Greg Quayle Metal Sculpture was located in Artisan Way, a whole section of the mall filled with nothing but creative craftspeople. At this time I was in my late teens and had few liabilities, restrictions and cares. I created everything and anything that amused or inspired me at that moment. It was a natural evolution that occurred during these years. The creations that took a long time to sell were not remade and the ones that sold quickly were replaced immediately. It was during this period, the fall of 1972, that The OriginalFLEA was created. Within a very short period of time it was obvious that I had hit on something special. From that point on, the FLEA was the focal point in every sculpture.
After a few years of retailing, I switched my focus and lifestyle to wholesaling my work and creating at home. For several years, my FLEA sculptures were featured at a rather large chain of stores called EarthCraft, located mostly in Southern California.
I moved from urban Southern CA to rural Northern CA, Grass Valley, in 1979. The desire was to relocate to a more peaceful place to raise a family. For the next 26 years I continued to create the OriginalFLEA sculptures and ship them all over the world. I estimate that I have created and sold over 200,000 FLEAS since 1972. Although I continued to create fleas in a limited way, I did take a Normal Job for 10 years. Having experienced the corporate world, It became very apparent that I needed out. In 2001 I resigned to resume a full time artistic life and I have never been happier.
I became interested in torch work at an early age. I started helping my Dad weld FLEAS when I was 6 years old. In my early teens, I was sculpting in earnest. What started out to be an easy way to make a little pocket money, eventually evolved into a passion to be creative, (like father like son).
In 1997, I moved out of my parents house and went away to college. I not only packed clothes, books and school supplies, but also my torch. I welded FLEAS in college and helped Dad keep his customers well supplied.
After graduation, I moved back to the Sacramento area to start a career and life after college. After several years in the real world, I knew that I wanted to work for myself and utilize my creativity to bring smiles to peoples faces. I wanted to create the OriginalFLEA metal sculptures again.
In 2004, OriginalFLEA.com was created. We are now back together for our latest endeavor and we are thrilled. We have our torches in hand and are enjoying life. We look forward to building this new web based connection to you, our customer. We welcome any feedback and comments. We strongly desire to spend the rest of our days creating and selling our special brand of artwork and spread as much FLEA humor as we are able.
The OriginalFLEA was first created in the fall of 1972. The design was registered for copyright protection in 1984. Between 1972 and 2016, an estimated 200,000 FLEAS have been sold.
The OriginalFLEA has been the key to the infectious humor of our sculptures. We honestly feel that these fun loving characters are the reason for our success over the last 4 decades. We poke a little fun at life in each FLEA scene that we create. The FLEAS are obviously happy little creatures but sometimes expressions of frustration, surprise or fear can take the place of their smiles.
We have developed over 230 different sculpture designs that make up our standard catalog of OriginalFLEAS. Keep checking our website, as we are always adding new ones. In most cases, you will be able to find the perfect gift for even the hardest to shop for person. Your FLEA gift will be the hit at your next party. People of all ages love to receive their first FLEA almost as much as receiving a new one to add to their collection.
If you have a specific idea for a new design to fill your personal needs, or if you have no idea but would just like to explore some possibilities, please call us at (916) 276-7005 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can describe a sculpture solution or drop you a quick sketch for your approval. Typically, a custom sculpture will cost you no more that one of our standard ones, and we love the challenge.
There is a little magic in the process of creating our FLEA sculptures. The magic is in experience. Collectively, we have 48 years of oxy-acetylene torch work experience. This time spent has given us the ability to do things with flame, metal and our hands that few can. The tools are simple, an oxy-acetylene torch, tin snips, pliers, a hammer and a vice. Materials are basic too, light gauge cold rolled steel and mild steel welding rod. We have a very old flywheel punch press that we use to stamp out the small half egg shaped parts that we weld together to make the FLEAs body . Everything else is hand formed. We snip, bend, heat, pound and weld until it looks right and makes us smile. Our typical sculpture takes from a few minutes to a couple of hours to complete. We also cut our own bases from premium redwood, sand and finish them with three coats of clear lacquer. We are the only ones that touch the OriginalFLEA sculptures. We do no subcontracting, nor do we use any mass production methods or processes. One of the benefits of the FLEA sculptures being handmade is that each one is unique. Feel confident that when you select a piece from our catalog, that is what you will receive, but there will be unique variations in each and every piece. We absolutely guarantee customer satisfaction. If you are not happy with your purchase, we will refund the purchase price (sorry, not shipping charges). Believe it or not, in more than 170,000 sales and over 32 years, we have not had a single dissatisfied customer or a returned FLEA.
We have made a very conscious decision in our lives to make the creation of the OriginalFLEA metal sculptures our lifes work. We have both performed more conventional jobs for years and did not find the fulfillment and joy that the FLEAS bring to them. The ability to create something that makes people smile every day is a gift and we have that gift. We intend to not waste another day or our talent and we hope that we can make our gift your next gift.
QUAYLE METAL SCULPTURE