Andrea Wright and Elaine Escalante recall their father’s artwork.

There is something about the fair. Growing up, we were in 4-H and entered our projects. We could not wait to go to the fair and see what place ribbons we received.

As time went on, we grew up and Dad decided to enter his “works of art.”

Our dad, Tony Compagnoni, was a farmer, rancher and welder. He began his creative “works of art” from over 70 years of farming and welding. One man’s junk is his treasures and Dad had a lot of junk.

With his junk collected on the farm, he started to be creative and weld it into some kind of bird, creature or something. Dad’s creative junk made his metal art unique. His welding skill allowed him to make something out of nothing.

If you brought him a shovel, he made a bird, a bug, or a thing. It seemed that he brought life to his creatures.

When he entered his “works of art” at the Kern County fair, he won many ribbons. Dad always had an idea what he was going to enter in the fair for the next year. In 1980 he made Dracula’s Castle with such detail and won first place. Other people were so inspired by his work that he started to have competition but that did not stop him.

Dad’s talents in his whimsical art can be seen around Bakersfield landscapes in front and back yards and in homes. We can say he was recycling and didn’t even know it with his “works of art.”

The farm had an array of interesting yard art in every corner and it was always a conversation piece. He passed away at 94 in 2012. He lives on through his “works of art.”

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