Meet Terry Rennert, a found-object artist who makes robots from recycled materials
GHMF: Can you tell me about your exhibit and what activities will be available?
Terry: My exhibit area will be home to many members of my recycled robot family for you to visit with, pick up and trying to sort through each one to figure out “what did this part use to be?” I love sharing stories about how I created them and am available to answer any questions you might have. I will have photos of my work, different pieces and parts that I work with and some of the tools I use. Perhaps you’ll spark an idea for a creation yourself!
Terry: From the first time at 8 yrs. old when I dismantled my grandfather’s Bulova Accutron watch to see what was on the inside, I knew wanted to tinker more and create things. I have always loved Legos, Tinker Toys and Erector Sets along with a healthy obsession for video games and sci-fi movies – one day I put on my welding mask on and found a robot lying in the pile of junk in front of me. I am inspired to make found-object robot sculptures because it is amazing to have random parts starting back at you as you drill, grind and weld them – it’s as if they like it and are thankful that you found them.
GHMF: You said you find discarded objects who are longing to be something new – can you describe your process and how you decide what to make?
Terry: I like to start with a single piece, probably found at a flea market or one of my many junk yard visits, and let it speak to me. Maybe it’s a face or an arm; from there, more pieces are added until it has completed its transformation. I try not to force things together so sometimes, I put a sculpture down and just start on a new one. But honestly I see robots and robot parts everywhere, so I am always inspired to grab something and make it something else.
Terry: Hackers, tinkerers, builders, knitters, and home brewers – whatever you identify with, I think we are all makers in some fashion and it is inspiring to see the self-made rather than mass-produced. The biggest maker movement misconception (say that 3 times fast!) I see is that making is about the end result and perhaps even that only certain people can do it.
Making satisfies my curiousness, it challenges me to learn something new, it allows me to share and shape; I encounter difficulties and need to figure out how to solve problems – it is as much about the process of making as it is about what you make.
GHMF: Is there anything else you would like to share about your project?
Terry: Most of my work to date has been with metal, but I have started also tinkering more with wood, stone and other mediums – I never know what is going to inspire me next so stay tuned. I guess I’d also share that you can go from user to creator in an instant so poke around your house or your yard for ideas and never be afraid you are “doing it wrong.” If you are creating, then you are definitely doing it right!
GHMF: What is the best way for people to get in touch with you?
GHMF: Give Terry a follow and find him on these other networks too.