Meet Jim Giles a Brainerd, MN, Metal Artist

Brainerd, MN—Jim Giles is a Minnesota native, maker of many mediums, and a true artist at heart. Visit Brainerd carries his, “Melted Metal Minnesotas,” which are hand-poured metal using a sand casting technique, then finished with resin and acrylic paint. Although they’re relatively small, about 3-inches by 4-inches, it takes all day to make just one. Each piece requires it’s own mold, since the metal climbs to a whopping 1,800 degrees the foam eventually evaporates and the molten metal replaces it. 

Jim used to make dog houses during retirement but found that the longevity of his pieces bothered him, “. . . so I started playing with metal. I can’t paint, so I have to do something more solid. It’s just something to leave behind, I guess.” As an artist, Jim understands the importance of experimentation and with that, also failure. “For every good one someone has made, there are probably at least two that have failed before,” said Giles. When asked what his dream job would be he replied, “I would say designing toys for kids. Do you know how many failures they have? It’s all about experimentation.” He then reminisced about the movie “Toys” that starred Robin Williams as a toy maker.

Curiously enough, when asked what he loved the most about what he does, he replied, “What comes to mind is what I hate about it. I don’t like the grinding and sanding. The molds are fun, but really it’s two hours of work for 30 seconds of WOW. You end up chasing that high.”

Finally, when asked if there was one thing he really wanted people to know, he answered, “. . . that I can make custom pieces. I use silver, brass, copper, all sorts of metals. I can trace your signature and make it into metal. Baby shoes in brass type of pieces, basically I take something fragile and make it permanent.” If you’d like to contact Jim about doing some custom work you can email him.

We are always elated to host such an incredible artist here at Visit Brainerd, and encourage you to come to the shop today to take a look for yourself! His Metal Minnesotas would be a perfect addition to any home, cabin, office and make the perfect Minnesota-gift or -keepsake. The Visit Brainerd gift store is located in Downtown Brainerd at 214 South 7th Street, Brainerd, MN 56401. It is open Monday–Friday from 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. during June, July, August and December.