From South Africa to Majorca, the artist recycles metal to weld magical sculptures

Daniel Brunner loves nothing more than working in the heat. Welding in the current heat wave hasn’t phased him at all. In fact, he says he feels very very comfortable in Mallorcait reminds him how his home country South Africa that was forty years ago.

Daniel is a single artistworking on the constitution of a collection of sculptures with a view to carrying out his first exhibition on the island.
Originally born in Austria, his father is Austrian and his mother Peruvian, the family moved to Cape Town when he was nine years old and it was there that he grew up until he joined the army for a brief stint and then traveled the world. He started in Costa Rica and worked as a casino dealer, builder and gardener.

“To be honest I didn’t know what to do with my life. I had some ups and downs along the way, I spent some time in the UK and in 1999 I decided to move back to South Africa, and that’s when I learned to weld,” he said.

Daniel did go to art school, but at the time he didn’t consider himself an artist. He had decided to study art as an easy option, he says he was too lazy to do anything else – but after three years he was expelled.

Pursue his dream, reach for the remains to achieve his goal, Daniel creates true metal magic from scrap metal, destined for recycling.
Each creation is as individual as the artist himself.
No plans, sketches or pre-thoughts as this limits free movement.
It simply comes to life as it is created.

Having started with a second hand dump selling everything he could get his hands on, discarded car parts appealed to him because they appeared to have very curvy organic shapes. He asked a friend to teach him the soldering game and within five minutes he was gluing the parts together.
The beginning was simple and more animated, equally sprayed and smeared, then it moved on to more futuristic sci-fi type dinosaurs and terminators.
The latest is wildlife, some mixed with wood and some without.

“In South Africa, my work has been well received, especially by the British, Germans and Dutch. The International market and I had a number of exhibitions.
“But the problem is that a lot of them are big works, so people need space for my sculptures, even though I’ve been working on slightly smaller pieces more recently,” he says. .
Daniel, who is fluent in Spanish, German, Afrikaans and English, arrived in Mallorca just over a year ago.

“My brother arrived about four years ago, then my parents and now me, and I think it won’t be long before my sister joins us on the island.

“We all love it here and we are away from all political problems and crime in South Africa.
“And since I arrived, I have never stopped working on my sculptures. But the demographics are different in Mallorca. People don’t tend to throw away small pieces, they tend to throw the whole thing away if one part stops working or they get bored. So I roam the dumps and landfills and collecting a few large pieces of scrap metal. But it’s not a major problem, I love browsing in junkyards, I find it de-stresses me and I love nothing better than finding a piece of rusty metal that cries out for some life“Daniel explained.

“In South Africa all the scrap metal would be torn apart, but I guess here it’s too laborious and expensive so people throw it all away,” he added.
“It’s a different way or approach to life and material objects.
“And I guess by recycling materials to create my sculptures I contribute to the eco system and also demonstrate what can be done with other people’s waste. So far I have five pieces completed and am aiming to put together a collection of ten in order to hold my first exhibition. It’s going to be a challenge, finding a gallery or someone who would like to hire me because, in addition to being very atypical, as I said, most of the pieces are rather large. But I have a lot of friends ready to help me, so we’ll see what happens eventually.

“I guess my main inspiration is my wife because it gives me the freedom I need and, to be honest, I weld and sculpt whatever comes to mind when I see a piece of scrap metal.
“He could lend himself to becoming a lizard or a frog. I never really know when I start and I just go with the flow, my feelings and my emotions. It’s very spontaneous, I turn off, I turn on the welder and I get to work.

“A lot of my early work was pretty dark, probably because I had issues with depression and I think that carried over into my art work. But here in Mallorca I feel a lot calmer, although I like the heat, I hate the cold in winter, luckily it doesn’t last long, but I don’t like the cold.
“But that aside, if my work has any symbolic meaning, as a Christian, it’s questioning life and the afterlife, whether good or bad.

“The most current message of my work is that there is life after death, whether it’s a good place or a bad place and you have to make the most of it and enjoy this life because it is relatively short. I think it’s extremely important to live life to the fullest and know what you’re doing.

“I spent so much time in limbo not really knowing what I was doing or what I wanted to do and it can be very frustrating and it all made me realize how important it is to make the most of it. of life. And that is the message that I try to transcend through my work,” explained Daniel, who has been hailed as the “the magic man of heavy metal” by the media in South Africa.

Don’t let people intimidate you because your idea is different or even controversial. Go ahead, jump, that’s what I say,” he added. “Everyone should have free rein to their creativity and as far as I’m concerned, the more waste I have in my garden, the more freedom I have to work,” said Daniel, who lives and works in llucmajor.

“I come from a family of artists, some are avid painters, but until I learned to weld I had never seriously dabbled in art.
“I remember when I was a little boy I wanted to build insects that would fight and wage war, but I never knew what materials to use or how the mechanics of something like this would work, but eventually having learned on my own, I have my own ideas and eventually created many insects and other animals and creatures,” he said.