Saturday, 13 April 2013

"Cheap Trash Can Look Beautiful"

What words to kick off my first post on my blogging foray into the world of creative recycling! Because they say it all. Any material can be used by a clever mind, imagination and nimble fingers to create something magnificent. Enter sculptor Robert Bradford.
Sniffer Dog
The works featured here are made up of layers of thousands of discarded children's toys carefully chosen by the sculptor at car boot sales and thrift shops. Bradford says he began using toys as his central material about five years ago after he had spent a few moments staring into his children’s cast off toy boxes. 
Girl with Flashing Eyes
He realised the toys were strong enough to be screwed to a wooden armature to allow him to build any shape or form.   

 “I like materials that are more obviously malleable, that have already had a life, have been part of other peoples lives."  

The sculptures range from large (over six metres high) to small and are made out of every conceivable type of modern plastic toy.  The results can be fluid with movement and purpose much like the Sniffer Dog above. But they can also seem quite alien and sinister, like the Girl with Flashing Eyes.

Bradford says his works provoke all sorts of emotions, that people are stimulated, amused and sometimes scared by them. Sometimes there is outright laughter! 

Toy Boy-Girl

Bradford is adamant that he is not an eco warrior; he would rather think of himself as watching from an involved distance.  He’s also too lazy, he says, to spend much time on recycling although he dislikes waste and having too much stuff around. 

Toy Angel

Bradford's reputation has grown from the southwest corner of England to spread much further afield thanks to shows in London, New York and Amsterdam. His work is increasingly in demand - buyers include Prada and Ripley's Museum. Sculptures can sell for up to £12,000 each.

His work is currently showing in Thessalonika, Frankfurt, France and Herne Bay in Kent.