Bruce Alves

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.
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.

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