Whimsical and Technical: The Art Portfolio of John Brickels

A clay sculpture of a strange machineHortsmann Machine

John Brickels is a sculptor who works with slab and extruded stoneware clay to create intricate figures of buildings, machines, cars, and robots. The artist’s works sometimes combine clay with found objects for a look that’s both whimsical and technical.

A sculpture of a robot holding two dollsAu Pair Bot


In our previous feature of John’s artworks, we looked at the artist’s cartoonish Americana aesthetic. I enjoy the way that John offsets his highly detailed, often realistic sculptural style with playful visual touches. Buildings twist and lean dramatically, and cars are often constructed with exaggerated proportions. This sense of playfulness seems especially evident in John’s Robots, which are each imbued with a distinct personality.

The front page of John Brickels' art websiteJohn's art portfolio website, www.brickels.com


John’s Machines gallery is also quite fascinating. In these sculptures, the artist combines sculpted clay, with various mechanical components. The unpainted, raw-looking clay combined with coloured dials and metallic valve handles, is not only eye catching, but lends these machines a sense of mysterious functionality, leaving the viewer wondering about their purpose.

A clay sculpture with metal components3 Valve Machine

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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