Dismembered toys shape the bodies and faces of Sydney-based artist Freya Jobbins’ up-cycled sculptures of Greek gods, iconic characters, artists, and celebrities. The printmaker-turned-sculptor took up the art of the toy eight years ago at a primary school. Jobbins knew that traditional art might fail to capture the attention of the students, “so I made my first ‘toy head’ from small toys discarded by my own kids,” she tells The Creators Project. “The little head was a hit with the kids and all the adults...so off I went from there.”
Over the intervening years, Jobbins’ kid-friendly creations have brought her to exhibition spaces across Australia and earned her dozens of art prizes. They have also, the artist explains, become a way of life. Jobbins’ second-hand materials used in her sculptures are sourced from shops like Vinnies and Lifeline and from frequenting garage sales. “Searching every Op Shop wherever I travel is now an addiction,” she admits. “I also receive a lot [of supplies] from mothers who clean out toyboxes at home. I am sent [...] things in the mail from all around Australia.”
On her website, Jobbins describes this process as, “An artistic exploration of the relationship between consumerism and the culture of up-cycling and recycling.” I ask her to elaborate on this statement. Nowadays, she says, children “‘need’ the latest toys, discarding last week’s fads to start collecting another line of toys. This leads to me finding more and more toys that are in perfect condition available to me to create even more work. With up-cycling becoming very accepted today, especially within the art world, I am lucky enough to have slipped right in there, reusing a lot of plastic which would have become landfill.”
Yet Jobbins’ unambiguous critique of consumer culture is just one of the reasons her work is sometimes seen as confrontational. Her composite creations, with their baby-doll-arm horns, Barbie-leg hair, and plastic-foot lips conjure up an uncanny valley effect: a hybrid between Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Child’s Play’s Chucky. Jobbins says, however, that negative responses or interpretations of her works do not bother her.
“I love watching people react to my work,” she explains. “I think my work is provocative,” she adds, “and in some ways rather beautiful.”
Below, find more examples of Freya Jobbins’ up-cycled artworks.
Find more of Freya Jobbins’ work on her website.