Artist Peter Geiger has developed a one-of-a-kind business turning old license plates into striking 3D guitar-themed sculptures. Operating out of his workshop in Cary, North Carolina, Geiger's license-plate guitar designs have attracted the attention of individual collectors, folk-art enthusiasts, restaurants and entertainment venues, and corporate award and gift programs. Country musician Brad Paisley commissioned Geiger to create a sculpture out of old tags from his cars, and one of Geiger's designs is on tour now with country group Rascal Flatts.
Geiger tells me his guitar art appeals to the general public, young and old. But he finds that especially “Musicians love it because it’s an art form that really represents their interests, whether it’s a certain guitar style, or a piece I’ve themed to a music legend, or the states they’ve lived in or traveled to.” Buyers especially enjoy the process of creating a custom piece: “They get to work with me to create a one-of-a-kind piece of art that represents the places they’ve been to, with special dates and sayings. The guitar art makes a really unique gift for memorable occasions.”
Geiger says his craft also “connects on the green/recycling level.” I would go further call it “upcycling,” as it represents a trend toward creating a higher-value art product out of a lower-value waste stream.
Geiger builds his pieces to the scale of the type of instrument his is replicating. He says,
People think they are looking at a real guitar or banjo. They always ask if they can be played or if I’ve mounted the plates to an actual guitar. They are also very detailed, highly polished, and have a 3D effect. I use all sides of the guitar to express the theme. Sometimes I add wings or horns or whatever seems to work to take each piece to the next level.
Geiger recently beat out more than 600 other contestants when one of his designs won the “Design Rascal Flatts’ Tour Guitar” contest. In this case, the country music band is having Geiger’s design laminated onto a Taylor guitar, making this Geiger’s first working musical instrument. The guitar is being featured on the group’s current tour.
Ready-made pieces listed on Peter Geiger’s web site sell for prices ranging from about $400 to $700. Custom pieces start at $420 and go up to about $1,400.