The Trash Man

Local sculptor Jud Turner continues to make waves in the art world with his stunning industrially inspired pieces. Not only is his work beautifully crafted, but each piece also challenges the viewer with a deeper cognitive message.

“I put things together that weren’t made to go together,” Turner says. From recycled bike frames to scrap metal and steel, his medium is often harsh and mechanical, but the product is always gorgeous.  

Dabbling with painting and drawing while at UO in his twenties, Turner slowly worked his way into sculpture. “I started with papier-mâché and really wanted a more durable medium so I moved into welded steel,” he says. 

Although his sculptures might look perfectly engineered, Turner is no traditionally trained mechanic. “I don’t have a good mechanical understanding or any mechanics training,” he says. “I couldn’t fix your car, but I could look under your hood and find parts that look like animals and make a sculpture.”

Beyond remarkable displays of turning metal into art, Turner comments on social issues as well. While he’s excited about the multitude of materials available to him as an artist, he’s also wary of it.

 “I have a lot of critical and negative feelings about the consumerist culture that we’ve developed,” Turner says. He’s working to take the product of that culture and repurpose it into art while offering subtle criticism. “To me it’s a really good circularity of materials and meaning,” Turner says. 

From New Orleans to London, Turner’s work is selling fast, for top-dollar prices. One of his most popular sculptures is a goat constructed out of recycled scrap metal and garbage. “I’m selling that in these snobby, high money, high brow art shows,” Turner says with a laugh. “I sat back one day and realized I’m selling garbage to rich people.”

Keep your eyes open for Turner’s newest work, a 16-foot blue heron made out of recycled bike frames that was commissioned by the city of Eugene. The sculpture will be installed on the street this fall, at the intersection of 13th and Alder Street.