Scrap metal gets new life as robot night lights

Avitzur’s "Throttler " sculpture was made from a discarded marine throttle, pump, wing nuts, and a refrigeration accumulator.

(Credit: Tal Avitzur )

Tal Avitzur is obsessed with collecting what he calls “retro junk.” The California artist spends hours sifting through scrapyards to find parts for the whimsical robots he dreams up.

At his Talbotics studio in Santa Barbara, Avitzur has created dozens of bots that are creepy, cute, alien, or just plain bizarre. Many are more than just ornamental — they work as night lights, illuminating dark rooms with their otherworldly LED eyes.

Some of his “Talbots” feature unexpected parts like vacuum cleaner motor housings, dolls, winches, clutches, floor polishers, meat grinder blades, taxidermy animal eyes, and old boat fittings.

“Some unusual parts that I recently acquired are an aluminum dental mannequin head, a dark room enlarger lamp, and a wooden foundry mold from the Pennsylvania railroad,” Avitzur says.

“I seem to use a lot of old vacuum cleaners, floor polishers, power tools and kitchen appliances. I think the designers of the vintage vacuums and tools, back in the 1940s and 1950s, would rather have been creating rocket ships and robots, and expressed these desires in their designs.”

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