Public Art

Demo Man

By Bud Knobeloch
Category: Sculpture


For decades, Don Bellon, head demo man for Bellon Wrecking and Salvage, had a desktop statue of a man swinging a sledgehammer, called The Wrecker. His wife had given him the statue when he started his business back in ’73. The statue was made of metal toothpicks, nuts and bolts. “I always had it in the back of my mind: ‘I’m going to have that made big one day,'” Bellon recalls. Bellon’s mechanic, Bud Knobeloch, started about a year ago to create a twenty-foot-high replica of the statue. “He started welding beams out of the yard, truck rims, whatever we had lying around,” says Bellon.

At first, Bellon put the statue right in front of this office, next to the sidewalk, near the corner of Chouteau and Vandeventer, but then he decided to set it on a wedge-shaped patch of grass he owns across the street. A metal plaque marks it as Demo Man. Although Demo Man was not affiliated with the People Project, Bellon admits that the public-art display encouraged him to magnify his small statue. “I honestly can’t go anywhere without someone saying, ‘You’re that guy with the Demo Man down on Vandeventer.'” says Bellon. Demo Man is visible to anyone exiting Highway 40 at Vandeventer. Even though it’s a structure of sorts, because Bellon put it on his own land, City Hall didn’t mess with him. “My attorney says you don’t need a permit for art,” says Bellon. All you need is some scrap metal, a welder, an idea — and a successful business with a bit of land.

Courtesy of St. Louis Riverfront Times, LLC.

Dimensions: 20′
Year Completed: 2002
Material: Scrap metal
Owner: Bellon Wrecking and Salvage Co.

About the artist:

Arts and cultural events are waiting around every corner throughout the St. Louis region. Explore the abundant creativity our area has to offer. From gallery shows and performances to public installations, St. Louis is rich with culture and the arts in all forms. Browse these links to experience our arts community firsthand.


Due to the ongoing financial impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) has been working diligently to adjust our annual grantmaking programs to ensure alignment with RAC’s strategic priorities, and in response to feedback from the arts community.


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As the leading public catalyst for arts and culture in St. Louis, the Regional Arts Commission leverages the power of creativity to strengthen and enrich our community. Read our commitment to diversity, racial equity, accessibility, and inclusion, and see our strategic plan for the next five years.


Covid-19 has impacted us all. But what it hasn’t changed is RAC’s commitment to finding innovative ways to support arts programming, arts organizations, and individual artists through the pandemic, and to resuming these programs as soon as conditions allow.


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