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Engineer Gene McNany fabricates whimsical art lamps from antiques 

click to enlarge GENE MCNANY
  • Gene McNany
With retirement not that far out on the horizon, Gene McNany wanted to keep working with his hands, as he’s done through career turns as an electrician, an auto diesel mechanic and, most recently, a mechanical engineer. In late 2018, one of his daughters came to him with a page of Pinterest photos and a request. She wanted a lamp made from an early 20th century fan.

What started as one antique-turned-whimsical-lighting-fixture became a few clever lamps he sold to friends. Most recently, he’s had a small display at The Perk Downtown, featuring lamps made from fans, an old gasoline pump nozzle and more. He’s even built a rocket ship lamp that, like much of his work, dwells in the aesthetic overlap between the work of painter Edward Hopper and author Ray Bradbury.

McNany, 58, was born in Indiana and has lived in Black Forest for the past 31 years. He’s built things like his lamps before. Specifically, he recalls an old Victrola cabinet he converted into a liquor cabinet for one of his daughters.

“Most of what I’ve done in the past has been for my daughters or as gifts,” he says. “She suggested I look into it as more than just a hobby.”

McNany starts with a base object, rather than a finished concept, typically 
juggling three or four pieces at a time. He scours eBay and antique and 
secondhand stores for things that strike his fancy, mostly pieces from the first half of the 20th century.

“I look for the unusual,” he says. “I want something a little bit 
different, and I’m particular. When I do a fan, I want to find one of the fans that has a more art deco fan guard.”

Going forward, he plans to show in galleries in the Springs and Denver. He has no website yet, but he can be reached for sales or commission inquiries at gino67ss@aol.com.

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