Powelton Village: Creating Art from Trash

Sewell holds a pig created from everyday materials.


Sewell holds a pig created from everyday materials.

A large studio holds equipment, gadgets and everyday items often found laying discarded on the streets or just laying unused around the house. The things that are made with these items however prove that old adages that one person’s trash can definitely become another person’s treasure.

Leo Sewell is a sculptor in Philadelphia who has made a living and earned some fame creating masterpieces out of everyday objects he found. It started when he was a young man around the age of nine. Originally from Annapolis Maryland Sewell recalled “living next to a dump and loving to play with the junk.” Sewell said early on he just wanted to take apart many things that he found until his parents put the work ethic idea into motion.

“I couldn’t just take things apart and make a mess you had to do something. It wasn’t about art it was about being productive.”  Sewell’s studio is filled with a large shelf with many compartments that hold nails, screws and even dentures which Leo said he would probably use for the paws of a dog. When asked what motivates and inspires him when he’s creating all of his artwork he said, “There is dreams, drugs and chance and I believe that chance is the great creator.”

Sewell points to things like screws and minature pigs included in this pig here.

Sewell’s artwork can be seen in a number of places throughout the city. With over 4,000 pieces sold and hundreds of shows during the last 50-years, Sewell has 30 pieces at the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) office on 17th and Arch Streets in Center City. His biggest piece is located at the Please Touch Museum in Fairmount Park. It is a 40 foot work depicting a section of the Statue of Liberty. Sewell resides in Powelton Village. If you are interested in Sewell’s work please visit his website at https://www.leosewell.net/



1 Comment

  1. I like the idea of creating art and craft from trash or recycled material. I myself have start promoting the use of old fabric and dress to be made into art and crafts. Currently, I am promoting Sari re-recycling and create a new way for many housewives to make more money by directly selling their saris through our website. There millions of sari stored in many Indian closets which as re-cycling value. Also, recycling sari can be seen as earth friendly as this long and wide fabric can be used as raw material for many products such as scarf, muffler, dress, skirt, hats, handbags, shopping bags and other handmade items. Thus, reduce demand for other natural fabric which sometimes produced by exploiting the environment. All the best in you “Art from Trash” adventure. regards

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