Junk Sculpture

Junk Sculpture coverJunk Sculpture

Submitter: I just found this book on the shelf today … how could we have missed it???  The “sculpture” on the cover is scary enough but then I opened the book and found the Mixed Media Junk Assemblage (now I know what to do with my old anchovy cans and doll parts!) and the utterly terrifying “Clown with Hat.”  The blurb on the back cover reads “When is junk not junk? When you make it into something attractive and artistic…”  I wish the author and his sixth-grade class had accomplished that feat; sadly, they did not …

Holly: I get that art books are often in the eye of the beholder.  One person loves it, another thinks its hideous.  We don’t do collection development based on our own tastes.  So, the problem with this book isn’t that it is filled with hideous art (personal opinion…feel free to disagree!).  It’s that it is from 1973.  We’ve got way better junk to make stuff out of these days! Mostly, though, it has that 1970s horrible coloring and look to it.  Our patrons see books like this and assume we haven’t updated our collections since then.

Junk Sculpture back cover

Clown made out of junk

mixed media junk assemblage


  1. Wow. I actually created that clown sculpture for the photoshoot. I find this site very amusing and never expected to actually see something I did on here! I believe I am credited somewhere within the pages but I don’t have a copy of the book myself. Most of the artists brought their work to a tiny studio in Crawley, just outside London, and they shot it all in one day because of the limited budget. I remember it well because it was a scorcher, unusual for that time of year, and there was no air in the bloody studio. Sorry you find it hideous, though I must admit my tastes have changed a bit since then myself. The 70s were truly unique weren’t they.

  2. “No officer, I haven’t mutilated and dismembered a baby, I’ve just got my mixed media junk assemblage with me.”

  3. I am going to look for this book to add to our collection. We are a design library. Collage is important and this is an interesting approach.

  4. Is it just me, or does the “Clown With Hat” sculpture look like the salt monster from the Star Trek episode “Man Trap”.

  5. I read an article in the paper some time ago about “up-cycling,” which was basically a fancy name for making ugly crafts out of garbage.

  6. That mixed media objet d’art reminds me of something I did once with plaster. It looked just as incomprehensible and just as ugly.

  7. When I was in kindergarten we used this book and made our own junk sculptures for earth day out of all sorts of donated bits and bobs. Mine won first place and i got to pick 3 packs of seeds lol. It was fun though.

  8. I would also note that some modern junk is interesting but dangerous (“Artist Beware”) and should not be used for something like this but recycled correctly (EG. light bulbs with Hg in them).

  9. You know, even though this book is from the 70s, this sort of thing has been around a LONG time. I was watching Antique Roadshow and this woman brought this horribly ugly frame thing that the dealer informed her was some sort of hobo art – stuff they made to trade for food and clothing. Honestly, even though it was worth big bucks, if I owned it, it would go in the garbage. Because it looked worse then the clown.

    And it was made in the 1940s.

  10. I keep coming back because the chest of the clown – wish Lionel would’ve left an e-mail address so I could bug him directly. That thing in the middle with the rose – what is it? Because it reminds me of the container my Grandma Pavlick used to put her dentures in.

  11. The clown somehow reminds me of those big-lipped wind-up monkeys with the cymbals that Stephen King wrote that story about.

    Jami, I think that’s the bottom of a ham tin that’s been painted. Perhaps Lionel will weigh back in.

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