“Walt Creel is a revolutionary artist – or perhaps an artistic revolutionary,” University of Alabama’s Reporter Online quips. “Instead of relying on paint or ink, he uses firearms to create images. His dot-matrix designs, composed of bullet holes in six-foot panels of painted metal, have gone viral on the Internet and attracted attention from Chinese and European media and prestigious American art journals. At UAB, however, the Web wonder is better known as an information-technology specialist for audio and video support.” Creel calls the series “De-weaponizing the gun.” While Creel uses a virtually recoilless Ruger .22 as part of his process, it’s clear that he suffers for his art . . .
The first image, the deer, definitely took the longest because I had to figure out what I was doing, the materials to use, which ammunition jammed the least and how closely I could place the bullets without destroying the piece. From the initial experiments until completion was almost a year. It was such a dramatic experience that I couldn’t think about doing another one for about another year. Due to the high cost of making one of these pieces, the size of the material and the time it takes to prepare it, plus shooting it 5,000 times, it is rare for me to make more than one a year. Last year I worked on a piece during the summer. Standing in the heat all day with a very hot gun gets exhausting.
On top of all that, Creel has to deal with the inevitable puns from the press: “My handy war holes.” Ug.