Two and-a-half years ago, Nolan's Tobacco shop redid its cigar lounge. And Mike Nolan hired T.J. Caroll to make a coffee table, chairs and a stand-up table with the logo of the Ashton Cigar Company. The owner of Nolan's Tobacco says even the cigar company was impressed with his work.
Mike Nolan says, "The work was so nice that Ashton got him work to do other lounges around the country. So, he's done cigar lounges in Florida and several other states, California even."
For years, Nolan's had a traditional cigar store Indian out in front. But Mike Nolan was never quite comfortable with that depiction of Native Americans. So, he and T.J. put their heads together.
Mike says, "We designed a statue of a Central American man who wears a Guayabera and he has a cigar and a Central American sun hat on and the whole idea was I just thought it was time for an image change."
"The Smoking Man" stands about 5 and-a-half feet tall and is made of aluminum. It has just one more step before it goes up. Right now, the sculpture has a completely silver aluminum color.
T.J. says, "And then I'll come back through and back-brush it, kind of like you'd polish a piece of jewelry, if you've seen a sterling silver ring that's got the silver highlights and then the back of it and the lines are all kind of black behind it."
More of T.J.'s Public Art
"The Smoking Man" is the third piece of public art that T.J. Carroll has had a hand in making. The most visible of the three is in Clinch Park, on Traverse City's waterfront. It's a life-size sculpture of a parent teaching a child how to ride a bike.
T.J. did much of the metal casting work for "Time to Let Go," although he didn't design it. The sculpture was designed by Old Mission Bay sculptor Verna Bartnick.
In front of T.J.'s shop is a jet-black sculpture of three cyclists coasting down a swooping hill. Even though the sculpture is made of steel, it looks feather-light. The cyclists appear to speed through space.
"I just kind of liked it because it kind of looked like it was kind of floating and in motion."
Its title is "Wayne Hill" after T.J. saw bikers coasting down the twisting and turning Wayne Hill in Traverse City.