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'Real Odd Good Job': Handyman gigs or art projects? He'll do either

'Real Odd Good Job': Handyman gigs or art projects? He'll do either

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Whether you need an artistic "goose house" or help with plain old drywall, a new venture, Real Odd Good Job, will do either.

For years, Jack Metcalf hosted interactive art shows at his Real Good studio on the Westside, with installations like an imitation horse track betting night, a fake video arcade, and a full stage for performances.

This new business includes both the fun and the practical.

"Some people take it quite literally, like 'I need somebody to fix this,' you know. Which I'm fine doing, but I enjoy doing the more creative stuff, obviously," he said. The straight odd-jobs are things like fencing, siding, and making COVID sneeze guards for business. He'll even put together IKEA furniture if you want.

The creative stuff includes a horse shelter, or as he prefers to call it, "a horse house." A "catio," that will allow a cat to get outside for a bit without escaping. He's built a goose house, too, for a client, and a colorful chicken shed for himself.

Growing up, Metcalf helped his father, a mechanical engineer and "creative problem solver," on projects like refinishing a wooden sailboat, residing, and laying bricks. Metcalf originally went to school for architecture at Savannah College of Art and Design before shifting toward printmaking, eventually coming to University of Montana to get an MFA.

He's now an adjunct art professor there and tends bar at Al's and Vic's. During the lock-down period, he decided to formalize a part-time gig doing custom jobs like this into something more formal. Projects from the past year include the funky, multi-level kids' play area in the Zootown Arts Community Center, and fixtures for boutiques like General Public and Cloth & Crown.  

Some recent projects are now in his backyard, where he has a separate studio building and a number of structures he built for himself during the quarantine slowdown. A teal greenhouse. Planters with a small faux-fence design like a children's book illustration. A little house for ducks topped with a small cross, also known as the "duck church." His son added a "birds only" that appears unpersuasive to their cat.

One client is Clyde Coffee, which has been trying to figure out how to reopen its shop on the Hip Strip.

Co-owner Glenda Bradshaw said their space, which is long and narrow, isn't designed for socially distanced dine-in service, nor does it have a to-go window. She, Metcalf and manager Lily Anderson discussed ways the staff could feel safe if they re-opened. Points of reference that emerged: the Bluth banana stand from "Arrested Development," or maybe a lemonade stand.

"He's so clever and creative and thoughtful and whimsical," Bradshaw said, and felt that his aesthetic would fit the art-friendly atmosphere of the shop.

Given free rein, he designed and built a grown-up version of a kids' lemonade stand, complete with a "Clyde Koffee" sign in childlike block-lettering, that will fit in the doorway on Higgins. With the protection of a sneeze guard, baristas can take orders and hand out coffee without patrons entering the shop.

The horse house, meanwhile, is a bigger project at 12 by 20 feet. It's a "slight deviation on a typical two-horse shelter," he said, "combining contemporary elements with traditional."

There seems to be demand for odd jobs large and small, as people have and are continuing to spend more time at home, and take on long-delayed improvements.

"I'm booked for about two or three months right now. It seems like there's a need for odd jobs," he said.

"Sometimes I tell people, you could probably do it, but do you really want to do it?"

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