IT'S fair to say most blokes - of the testosterone-pumping, sporty, machine-minded variety - are not big on art.
The kind of fine art you see in galleries, attracting high-end patrons and viewed with earnest intensity. Well, meet Eamon O'Toole, a sport-loving sculptor who demolishes such notions.
Eamon, who grew up making billy carts around the back blocks of Yarragon, in Gippsland, and loved nothing more than watching Mick Doohan race on the telly, has bridged the unbridgeable.
And none more so in his most recent exhibition, Big Boys Toys, at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.
The exhibition is described by the gallery as part-Formula 1 showroom and part-motoring enthusiast's tool shed, with detailed, life-size replicas that will "shock some traditional fine art aficionados".
There is his sculpture, Big Bang, which is a Mick Doohan replica Honda, an assemblage of moulded motorcycle parts. There is Sidchrome Tool Cabinet, a plastic, enamel and aluminium leaf replica of a mechanic's tool kit that was inspired by a religious triptych.
And Toyota Corolla Ute - 1975, made largely of plastic, is based on a real model that was owned by Eamon, a 1970s panel van with a souped-up '80s engine that he transformed into a ute. So how did he do it? How did he make sport arty, or art sporty?
"My mates do look at some things in fine art and say, 'What the f---'," he says. "I tell them they've got to loosen up. But then there are very well-established artists who will say something is rubbish.
"A lot of my mates see my stuff and like it and say I should make 'such and such'. The bit I find interesting is that the fine art community have embraced it. They seem to like the way I have gone about making things, how I've managed to turn it into fine art.
Although he maintains he's got a foot in each camp, it was sport that was his first love, with memories of motocross racing in the '70s and crashing a billy cart down a Yarragon hill with his mate, Dale.
Mechanics and sport, though, had their limits: "It was more fun to think about building and concocting things." Throughout his school years he dabbled in sculpting - "just mucking around with abstract, geometric things, and clay heads" - and after a detour working in printing and a short stint completing a town planning degree, he opted to study sculpting at VCA in 1984.
Such was his talent that the National Gallery of Victoria bought one of his first pieces, from a touring VCA exhibition, in 1987, called Motorbike, Suzuki PE175, which is now featured in Ballarat.
From that point his career grew and while he's had a steady line of exhibitions and patrons around Australia, he has also worked at a foundry, and at the National Gallery of Victoria since 1987 as a technical assistant in conservation.
"Because I talk to curatorial staff and conservation people I've had a real art history education, just by working with people who know their stuff.
"The idea for Sidchrome Tool Cabinet came while I was working with a paintings conservator, fixing a Flemish religious icon, an altar piece with doors that open up.
"I didn't particularly like the imagery but I would go home and think about it, because I was working on it for months. One night I thought of all my mates who have Sidchrome chests that open up and so I decided to make an Australian altar piece."
Eamon says his primary drive is making objects he's interested in, with plastic his key choice of material for its varied applications.
He works out of his Melbourne Californian bungalow's garage, where his art sits alongside his dirtbike, tools and grease.
"One of my mates said it was like a workshop is meant to be, with a bit of everything in it," he says. "Chaos is good. If I clean it up I go, 'S---, I don't know what I'm going to make'."