Old objects becomes new art

Recycling old pieces into art: Artist Bob Turner recently won an award for his unique artwork. Photo: Shannon Wood.
Recycling old pieces into art: Artist Bob Turner recently won an award for his unique artwork. Photo: Shannon Wood.

Every piece of Bob Turner’s art tells a story through the history of the objects he uses, right down to the recycled nuts and bolts that bind it together.  

The local artist recently picked up the Happs Emerging Artist Award for his entry at the Dunsborough Sculptures by the Bay exhibition for his fish-inspired sculpture. 

Although Turner is not new to the art scene, it was the first time he had entered the prestigious public art display. 

“As a child I first started entering art into the shows in Wickepin, I must have been about 12, then I never really went back to it,” he said. “I picked it back up again in the last 18 months or so. You really need something to do when you retire."

In his extensive workshop on 100 acres of land, 30 kilometres on the outskirts of Collie, Turner neatly stores piles upon piles of recycled goods he utilises for his art. 

Some of it is left out in the elements to intentionally create a rusted and weathered appearance.

Turner views his art and his other collections as preserving a piece of history for the next generation.

“A lot of my stuff goes right back into the 1800s. I try to bring back the really old stuff to make it last another 100 years,” he said.

“I get on really well with a lot of the local farmers, they really look after me with a lot of the old stuff because they know what it gets turned into at the end of the day and they appreciate that.”

Every piece of Turner’s work comes with a written history of where each part has been sourced.

From old farming equipment to car parts and trees that have fallen on his property, he sources his inspiration and materials from just about anywhere. 

The former coach builder and timber machinist describes his art as simple and varied. 

“People have said it’s a simple style, not over the top, there’s a lot of wood and metal,” he said.  

After moving down from Karratha two years ago, Turner now travels across the state, displaying and selling his art.

Turner currently has his art on display at the Collie Art Gallery, where he has previously won awards.