About the Artist

Hi there, my name is Jeremy Wilken. I have always been “The creative one” in my family and was deemed so at a very young age! I grew up in a medium-sized town in the middle of the central Illinois corn/soybean fields and was lucky enough to attend schools and have teachers that cultivated and encouraged my need to “make stuff”!

 

In 1998, I found myself thrust into the dramatic scene and began designing and building scenery and props for the stage. When you never know what a props list or script will call for…the need to be creative and downright desperation to produce some extremely zany items grew my abilities exponentially! To date I have designed for, constructed, stage managed or directed about 140+ productions in Illinois, Missouri and even New Zealand!

 

In 2011, my wife’s career took our family to Queenstown, New Zealand and I became Mr. Mom for our two children in a tiny little village in NZ called Kingston (Population 250-ish). The photo above, though not the best “head-shot”, is of me on top of Piano Rock, high above Kingston at the southern tip of lake Wakatipu. If you are a creative soul… you will understand when I tell you I was in need of a new outlet ASAP to keep my idle hands busy. With very few options, except for a handful of thrift stores, my Aunt suggested that I follow in her footsteps for a while and try my hand at creating up-cycled figurines like she had been producing for a number of years. Without a better idea, I took to the “Junk-Fairy” business like a fish to water and before long I began attending the few Art Shows and Festivals around New Zealand…and selling pretty well.

Over my two year tenure as a “satellite branch” of my Aunt’s studio, the two of us would beat the time difference and collaborate, discuss new techniques, new ideas and success/failure stories. We even traded JUNK! Packages filled with the seemingly most useless items would globe-trek through the postal system with a very eager recipient on the other side. I think the most fun I had with this process was getting her reactions to how I would use the crazy little bits and pieces she had sent! I always enjoyed being able to spot something in a photo that I had sent her!

All good things must come to an end, as did our time in New Zealand. Upon the news that I was coming back to the USA, I knew I wanted to continue up-cycling junk into sculpture and figures, but I needed a new idea… I needed… inspiration, and I got it! The last package of junk I received in New Zealand contained a piston head out of a car engine. She had sent it so I could figure out how to utilize it into a “Junk-Fairy”… but it looked more like a robot face to me! With a bit of a scavenge around for some other metallic/robot-ish looking bits, I had made my first Woah-Bot! I created a few more bots…and after each bot getting such high praise from my friends and family (so much praise that each one I made was bought immediately after I made it) I knew that this was my new direction… and I do LOVE it so much!

The name came from my 6 year old son. He still has that little boy “w” sound instead of the “r” sound. While out on a junk-quest, he asked if I had found lots of parts for my wobots… “WOAH-BOTZ”… perfect!!!

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