Bruce Alves III


Born and raised just outside of St. Louis, Missouri, I had a very typical childhood playing with toys and pestering my little sister. I received my undergraduate degree from Missouri State University in 2006. As both mentors and friends, Keith Ekstam and Kevin Hughes instilled in me a true passion for clay. Upon graduation I got the opportunity to make my art in Taiwan at Tainan National University of the Arts (2007). In 2012 I received my MFA from Texas Tech University working under Von Venhuizen and Juan Granados. After a brief stint as the Gallery Assistant/Manager at the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles, MO, it was time to focus on actively pursuing my ceramic and mixed media work.
As a child I was rough on my toys and constantly broke them. Unfortunately, I could not always convince my parents to buy me new ones to replace them. To salvage my toy collection I would sit in my father’s wood shop and glue the heads of G.I. Joe men onto the bodies of smaller broken Transformers to create cyborgs, or screw the arm of a Transformer onto one of my Stormtroopers to create an even more powerful Clone Army. Anything remaining that I could not use to make a new toy was used as props on my battlefield.
Currently the work I make revisits that time in my life when anything was possible and the rules of reality did not seem to limit what you could do. Taking old rusty parts I find in junkyards, flea markets, or stumble upon while walking, I try to give them a new purpose by combining them with ceramic forms to create my own hybrid ‘toys’. Old cogs become wheels, a cast iron stove leg becomes a seat, or a sprinkler head becomes an exhaust pipe. When looking for parts to make these toys I try not to think about their original purpose. I want to be a naïve child again, looking at something for the first time and making it what I need it to be. These ‘toys’ signify for me that time in our lives when life was carefree and you did not have a million e-mails to read or meetings to attend. The only thing that mattered was deciding what toy you were going to play with next.

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