PITTSBURG — Alan Kirby is no stranger to the Pittsburg arts scene.
As a long time artist and 12-year veteran of Artwalk, Kirby is used to entertaining the local masses with his work.
However, on June 12, Kirby will be stepping onto a much bigger stage when he is featured as a contestant on the History Channel’s Forged In Fire.
According to the History Channel’s website, _Forged in Fire_ is “an original competition series hosted by weapons expert and U.S. Army and Air Force veteran Wil Willis, featuring world-class bladesmiths competing to create history’s most iconic edged weapons.”
Kirby moved into forging and metal work from ceramics two years ago, and is self-taught. He said was shocked and surprised when his casting video caught the eye of the show.
“I was encouraged to submit a video by some other artists,” Kirby said. “I sent it in and kind of forgot about it.”
At least until last July, when the casting director reached out via email.
Kirby said, being accepted for the show involved a long process of emails, Skype calls, and finally being accepted and flown to New York to shoot.
“It was a surreal, amazing, incredibly life-changing experience.” Kirby said. “This is like the Olympics of forging.
“Everyone wants to win, but whatever metal you walk away from it’s still great for your artwork to be on the show.”
The show, which was filmed in September of last year, features several of the professionals Kirby admires.
“The judges are people I have admired for a long time,” he said. “To get to meet them, to see that they are real people who honestly care about what your doing, that was great.”
The judges were not the only people who left a lasting impression. Kirby said his fellow contestants were very supportive of each other.
“We’ve since become friends,” Kirby said. “That’s very common in this artform. There is a definite brotherhood among blacksmiths and bladesmiths.”
Kirby has found support from not just his fellow artists in town, and his family.
“My wife Sandra has been my biggest supporter on this endeavour,” Kirby said. “I’ve also had the gallery here in town, and the artists there.”
Kirby’s pieces are available online at his Facebook page or at Art Forms Gallery in Pittsburg. He hopes the show will allow him to expand the reach of his pieces.
There will be a viewing party on the day of the episode from 5-11 p.m. at T.J. Lelands. The party will have a large screen set up for viewing and offer several raffles benefiting arts and technology at Pittsburg High School. The public is welcome to attend.