Dan's machine-man sculptures don't walk, talk, laugh or cry. But they sure can turn on the charm.
Leave it to a veteran product designer to dissect obsolete consumer appliances and put them together into an endearing collection of robots. And the curious Dr. FrankenDan started young.
“My parents came to accept that I would disassemble my toys to see how they worked,” he says. “And reassemble them.”
This Rochester guy has been designing real products professionally for 35 years—from industrial mixers to vacuum cleaners to surgical tools. That experience informs his collection of robot sculpture, pieced together from scraps of vintage gadgets.
Dan doesn't blindly build his sculptures from found objects. He very often knows who designed the original product, who built it, when, and where it was sold. His art pays homage to his colleagues from past generations, he says.
Using the innards of cast-off flashlights, radios and power tools gives old junk new worth. But where does he dig up the body parts?
“My best sources have been local outdoor flea markets,” he says. In the summer, Dan likes to hit the Community Garage Sale and Superfleas at the Rochester Public Market, among others.
In wintertime, he turns to favorite thrift stores and rummages online.
“I try to restrain myself from spending too much on eBay,” he says. It helps that his friends and family save their unwanted appliances for Dan.
“They know not to send robot parts to the landfills,” he says.
Dan recently completed a commissioned piece and is currently working on expanding his collection.
“Right now I'm focused on building inventory,” he says. “And trying to keep other project ideas in their cages.”
A head for design and a heart for nostalgia are sure to take him far.