Recycling is an Art Form for Springerville Man
SPRINGERVILLE — Most people look at a teaspoon as an eating utensil. John Wilhelm, however, views it as an art supply, something that would look better if he turned it into a fish. And so he does. Wilhelm’s house and yard are filled with his art work, and almost all of it is composed of discarded materials. Among them is an almost life-size elk he calls “Singer” because part of its rib cage is the treadle from an abandoned sewing machine.
And along the pathway to his workshop out back, there’s a giant silver fish. The scales are teaspoon bowls, the fins are teaspoon handles. Wilhelm also converts rocks into rabbits and nonworking computers into weird mannequins. “There’s no such thing as junk,” he claims. “It’s all pre-art.” Then he smiles and recalls a visitor who once commented that “it must be scary inside your head.”
Wilhelm, a retired welder, gets most of his supplies from recycling centers, but a lot comes from curious people who give him things like old toasters and hammer handles just to see what he can create with them. His yard and workplace are at 253 South Gutierrez, and he welcomes drop-ins.