Blog Menu

Cartoonish Americana: Sculpture by John Brickels

A sculpture of a brownstone buildingBrownstone 4

John Brickels specializes in stoneware clay sculpture, creating highly detailed miniatures of machines and buildings. Each of John’s sculptures is imbued with a lively sense of cartoonish Americana.


A wall-hanging sculpture of a mid-century cafeMel's Coffeeshop


I’m really a fan of John’s City Buildings series. These sculptures take the form of realistically detailed buildings, though each is distorted and twisted into delightfully playful proportions. Every crack in the brickwork and out-of-place shingle is rendered in a beautiful, slightly exaggerated. The artist’s Mid-Century Modern series takes the same style notes, translating them into wall-hangings of diners and car washes from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.


The front page of John Brickels' art


This slightly off-kilter aesthetic sense runs throughout John’s portfolio. The artist favors machines and machine parts, sculpting bizarre mechanical constructions that are then combined with found objects including metal dials and meters to create the appearance of objects that might serve some as-yet-unknown purpose. In his Vehicles series, John sculpts engine parts and wheel axels out of clay, then tops them off with rusted-covered, brightly painted automobile bodies. 


A sculpture of a Chrysler autobodyChrysler

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

Read more of Dallas' posts

Easily build your art website

and focus your time on making art.


Try free for 30 days. No payment required.