Walking outside, you’ve probably passed countless pieces of dead, gnarled wood and bits of corroded old boards. You’ve probably passed some rusty pieces of scrap metal, too, and more than likely, you didn’t give them a second glance. It’s just junk, right? Not if you see it the way artist Jason Waldron does. He knows that even the most humble of junk can, with the right care, turn into something beautiful and new.
We’ve seen what a little innovation and talent can do, and we’ve seen all kinds of trash become gorgeous and unexpected artwork, or even become a charming, rustic dream cabin! Jason uses scrap wood and metal, most of it collected right off the ground around his home in Central Oregon. He turns them into sinuous, rippling sculptures of animals and humans that seem ready to burst into motion at any second.
And for being made of many different parts, they’re remarkably seamless. His work shows his deep love of nature and wildlife, and that’s also reflected in the fact that his work is made completely of found and recycled materials, making them eco-friendly, as well.
Check out his amazing sculptures below, and you might just find yourself looking at a twisted old stick a little differently on your next walk outside!
Jason creates these startlingly lifelike sculptures by piecing together scrap wood and metal that he finds in junk yards, recycling centers, and out in the wilderness of his native Central Oregon.
He enjoys hunting for materials with his wife and dog, and describes himself as “a big kid” when he’s foraging through forests and scrap heaps.
He’s always loved both art and nature, but he only found his real artistic calling after coming upon a wood-carving demonstration by chance. He started carving, and he says, “I loved it so much, I quit my job the next day.” And that happened 14 years ago. Today, he’s still creating.
His style has changed somewhat, though. Instead of carving a solid piece of wood, he builds a sculpture out of several smaller components. While he shapes some of the pieces, most are left in their natural state.
Pieced carefully together, the scraps take on the shape of majestic animals like soaring birds and powerful horses. The dead wood and rusted metal scraps suddenly seem alive and full of motion.
And it’s not just the process turning scraps into something new that fuels Jason’s inspiration (although that’s fun, too!). He sees the transformation of broken, discarded materials into a complete whole as representative of spiritual growth and transformation within ourselves.
“Like these materials,” he says, “we are all being shaped through the elements of life… as we unite our weathered and broken selves in true love.”
The types of wood he uses also lend each sculpture its own unique personality, and tell a story about the landscape they came from.
He also doesn’t limit himself to just sticks and branches. Take a look at the body of this eagle sculpture, and you’ll see it’s made from a gnarled piece of wood that another sculptor might pass up.
But Jason sees the beauty and the potential in everything!
To create these realistic sculptures, Jason uses plenty of reference photos.
The weathering on the wood and metal also creates unique color and texture patterns. These aren’t smooth, polished sculptures, but they have a rugged, natural beauty all their own.
And that fits in perfectly with Jason’s philosophies. While life might weather us a bit, we can still pull our experiences together to create a whole and beautiful life.
Jason’s work shows us that even if something seems old and worn-out, looking at it a little differently can open up a world of possibilities, and that even the oldest, most beat-up parts of ourselves are worth celebrating.