Santa Barbara artist Tal Avitzur in Catapult magazine.
Santa Barbara artist Tal Avitzur in Catapult magazine.

I was raised in small town Pennsylvania. After earning a Masters in math from UC Santa Barbara I worked for the US Navy in Washington, DC determining the best collection of spare parts carriers should keep stocked in order to maximize readiness of planes. However, the call of Santa Barbara was too great. So I returned, began teaching part-time, which left ample time for artistic pursuits. Home improvement projects took me to scrap metal yards, which sealed my fate.

Scavenging at marine and auto salvage yards, recycling centers, construction site dumpsters, swap meets and yard sales has become an obsession. I rescue parts that are on their way to a landfill or a smelter and give them a new purpose in life. I'm fond of vintage power tools, kitchen appliances, vacuum cleaners, floor polishers and old lab equipment. The original use of a vast majority of the spare parts in my inventory is a mystery.

After bringing parts to the studio, they are cleaned, disassembled (if necessary), sometimes polished, then sorted Inspiration comes from a youth filled with a healthy dose of science fiction, mythology, comic books, and still having the playful mind of a seven-year-old.

Each piece begins with finding the personality in an object, then test fitting combinations together, and cutting, drilling and grinding until reaching a natural-looking fit. The workshop bench usually has a few different projects going on at any time. Sometimes, sculptures need to be put aside for months while waiting for just the right salvaged part. Making these one-of-a-kind, whimsical, found-object sculptures has allowed me to indulge my passion for creating art, while giving new life to discarded objects, and perhaps preserving a bit of industrial history.

March 2013 Issue of Catapult Magazine Featuring Santa Barbara Artist / Sculptor Tal Avitzur