The Junk Artist – Organised Chaos

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to give up your well-paid and stable job for your passion? Well, Steve Oatway did, and he has never looked back.

During the time he was working as an environmental tester of explosive ordnance for the Army, he took a welding course. But something unusual happened to him when he returned to the workshop. He saw shapes and forms in the test pieces, something he had never experience before. That was the start of a journey in his life that made him an inventive, resourceful and talented junk artist.

Steve and his partner Jen work on projects and ideas together, with Steve holding workshops for those who have a similar passion for the art.

What others discard and see as not useful any longer is Steve’s metaphor for homelessness. Cast out from society, rejected and abandoned, just like the pieces of junk left behind in landfills.

An example Steve showed me was a round metal ball. He asked me what I thought it was. I thought it looked similar to a tow ball off an old car. I was way off. It was a titanium hip joint a friend gave him. An unusual piece to say the least, but Steve could already see what it could be in its reincarnation. Maybe a bull’s eye?

I asked Steve where he finds the pieces he uses. “Most people know me in Mannum, and I often come home to a pile of junk tossed over my fence, and if I need something specific, I’ll go to the salvage yard.”

One of Steve’s dreams was to show his art in New York. Well, that did happen for him in 2009, followed by Texas and California. Not bad for a local Mannum junk artist.

One of his recent pieces is the ‘Corona Machine’ for the extermination of the Corona Virus. A wildly inventive, and cool piece of art.

If you want to see some of Steve’s work you can visit Instagram @renkrn8.

Steve also opens his home-grown Mannum gallery of awesome junk art to people who have a similar passion. He calls it ‘Organised Chaos,’ and you have to see it to believe it, and what impressed me was he knows where every piece is in his yard.

There is no charge, but I would leave a tip if I got the opportunity to see Steve’s excellent work.

You can email Steve on as it is by appointment only.

Carol Carini

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