The biggest challenge is working with scale. As he told us, "If you become too small you lose your material identity, and if you become too big it looks as amazing as a pile of hubcaps. I have made several large-scale hubcap carvings and I have struggled a bit with it."
During his career, the moment of Ptolemy's greatest excitement came with someone in the United States. "He sent me an email a few years ago and said he left his job to pursue a career in the creative industry making bespoke electric guitars," Ptomely said. "He said he made far less but much happier, and my correspondence played a very important role (forgive the words) in his decision. That makes me feel very proud. "
For over twelve years now, Brighton, UK-based artist Ptolemy Elrington has been morphing discarded hubcaps into amazing animal sculptures. While most of us see hubcaps as just replaceable car accessories, Elrington sees them as art, taking these scraps of metal and forming them into everything from a fish and birds, to a shark and dragons. “‘I like to work with reclaimed materials to show that what is one person’s junk is another man’s treasure,” he said. Hubcaps that have emblems of them, of their long lost cars, such as BMW, Mercedes, Ford, and Volvo often find new life in his work. (Check out the birds’ eyes.)
Elrington now works as a hubcap sculptor full-time – the cost of his sculptures range from £200 to £10,000. “If it’s a piece I really like I make it expensive ‘cause I don’t want to sell it,” laughs the sculptor.
All images credit and artworks by Ptolemy Elrington