One of the most difficult things out there to recycle or re-purpose is
rubber tires. For Korean artist Yong Ho Ji it was part of the
inspiration behind a series of sculptures he has created. When the
rubber meets the road for him it means producing a large number of
sculptures primarily of animals and some animal hybrid monsters. This
view is way more amazing that those giant piles of discarded tires out
When Yong first started working with the old tires as a medium he hadn't really thought of it as being a way to help the environment. The more he worked with the rubber the more he started to think of the rubber and how they began as trees. Then he started thinking of the circle of life and how we interfere with it.
It is our interference with the natural world that has made Yong more in tune with the environment and all of nature. He feels that he is helping just a bit in his own way by re-purposing the tires and giving them a second life. He refers to the tires as his "buddies." Indeed they probably are since he must work so closely with them to coax them into shapes for which they were not originally intended. Still, they seem to cooperate.
Like all great artists Yong puts his spirit into his work and then casts it into the world. Much like parents do with their children. He is also still trying to come to grips with his identity as an artist. One person, after viewing his work, commented that he is an artist who very much represents our period in history.
Indeed the tools of his art look more like he is doing construction rather than painting or the sculpting of the past. As he explores this medium and lets the creativity flow he just tries to also focus on being a good and decent man.
The animals of Yong's creations are dark and fearsome creatures with a decidedly Asian flair. After a host of museum and gallery showings around the world his work has found a permanent home at the International Contemporary Art Foundation in Seoul, South Korea.
Images via Yong Ho Ji