Where most people see only junk destined for the dump, Wally Lamont sees the makings of his masterpieces.
The Rankins Springs artist has made a name for himself after a number of years of dragging scraps from wherever they have come to rest and breathing new life into them.
The resulting Wally’s Junk Art Gallery is a hidden treasure trove off the Mid Western Highway, with sculptures ranging from the cast of Wally’s beloved Dr Who to country icons like Ned Kelly and the Carrathool Shire Mayor.
By his own admission the finished products are “rough and ready” Wally says on Wednesday with a shrug, “but it is art.”
It is an undersell, over the years Wally’s art has been entered in a number of shows and has found homes in many a collector’s garden, with the artist also commissioned to make custom pieces for interested parties.
Despite this success, the art is only a pastime for Wally, though it seems his inspiration comes at all times, and from some unlikely places.
“When I first saw this out at a pig farm,” he gestures to the trunk of a finished Dumbo sculpture “it was off an old water system, I found it first and decided I would eventually make an elephant out of it.”
It can take only an afternoon, or it can take a month but Wally waits until he finds the perfect pieces to finish his creations, in this case the finished elephant was still a number of years down the track.
“It laid there for years until I happened to find the ears sitting there in a junk pile, they came out of a header,” he said.
It’s a common theme for Wally, who views the world of junk for what it could one day be.
“As soon as I see things sometimes, I get an idea,” he said gesturing at a log balanced on four blocks of wood.
“I’m probably getting worse, this tree here, as soon as I saw it I thought ‘Fred Flinstone’s car’. . .I’m going to build a steel Fred, or I can have a go at building a wood one, I’ll have a go at anything.”
But while there is little doubt fixing up his creations is a passion for the local artist, there is a method behind the madness.
Wally has big plans of one day opening the gallery up to provide entertainment and refreshments for travellers passing through.
“Basically I want to bring people back to the bush,” he said.
“People are going around the Newell [Highway] and that’s no good to us, we want them to come back through Rankins Springs so they support our pub, our shop, our service station and our art gallery.”
On top of food and drinks Wally’s got his eye on transforming his yard into a outdoor sculpture garden where visitors can walk from Texas, to Bedrock to out of space.