Breathing Life into Junk: Stephen Ives’ Unique Bricolage Art


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Born in England in 1970, Stephen Ives is a Melbourne-based artist specializing in bricolage. He forges his works from a diverse mix of materials: toys, junk, discovered objects, model kits, and pliable extras like polymer clays and aluminum.

His creative process mirrors the chaotic collection of materials, encompassing an amalgamation of thoughts, emotions, current and past ideas, historical context, and pop culture. These concepts are refined, and materials are accumulated, manipulated, altered, and finally united into a cohesive piece that serves as a tangible representation of thought and a delight to the senses.

More: Stephen Ives, Instagram

The son of an Australian mother and English father, Ives grew up on the outskirts of the historic town of Lewes, England, before moving to Australia at the age of 12. Much of his childhood was spent immersed in a mountain of Lego, bringing his imaginative creations to life, or adventuring in the South Downs. As a teenager, he honed his skills in drawing and model-making, focusing on tanks and planes.

Ives has been crafting and showcasing his work in Melbourne since his mid-20s. His art has graced the walls of galleries in numerous cities, including London, Paris, Brussels, New York, Santa Fe, and Copenhagen. Collectors from Australia, England, and Germany have acquired his works, alongside some of Denmark’s most prominent art collectors, such as Christian Stadil of Thornico and Hummel Sport, Lars Christian Brask of EFG International, and representatives from the Danske Bank.

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