| Hallmark Channel
Investigates Robert's art and what it means to him. Watch as Robert searches
through a marine salvage yard looking for those lost treasures and then visit his
studio as he reminisces about bringing his pieces to life.
Oct. 10, 2005 (12pm & 5pm ET/PT)
Crafters Coast to Coast / That's Clever!
Robert Perry of South Miami, Fla., loves scouring
the streets for junk. In fact, in his workshop he's got
a bit of everything, including a kitchen sink! He turns
someone else's trash into his own treasure. Lighting fixtures have become his
specialty and in this project he's creating a unique lamp out of found objects.
| The Miami Herald
April 3, 2005
One Man's Junk
Robert Perry takes other people's garbage and turns it into lighting sculptures
Article by: Joe Werne, special to the Herald
Rusty hubcaps, discarded
kitchen utensils and vintage
appliances may look like
junk to most people.
But to Robert Perry, they are
potential works of art. He
turns them into sculptural
light fixtures in a studio
behind his South Miami
''I go to swap shops, flea
markets and scrap metal
yards,'' says Perry, 36, a
lighting sculptor who
named his company
Structures of Light. ``The stuff I find most people would throw out. I love to recycle
things to keep them out of the landfill.''
Perry, whose professional background has been in music and theater lighting,
doesn't always know what piece of junk he's picking up. Car parts, for instance,
usually baffle him.
He found one car part and saw a rib cage, so he created a torso with it. Red wiring,
vinyl tubing and a pulsating red light bulb for the ''heart'' completed the sculpture he
''When I displayed it at an art show, someone came up to my booth, saw it and said
the rib cage was actually a manifold from a Ford Taurus,'' Perry says. ``People smile
when they see my things. They think they are creative and funny.''
A '50S TOASTER
One fixture is a 1950s toaster with six lighting tubes inserted into the bread slots.
The shade is a colander turned upside down over a light bulb. Its name? Toast.
Cookin is a lamp made from a metal cheese grater. Trivet, made from a utensil
strainer used in restaurant kitchens, rests on a trivet. Spirit is a tiny, ethereal lamp
made from aluminum mesh.
Along one wall of Perry's studio are shelves stacked with shiny, clean metal objects
-- even a kitchen sink. But they didn't arrive that way. Many were covered with rust,
grease and grime. Perry's most arduous job is cleaning each piece with various
kinds of grinders and sanders, then coating it with clear automotive sealer.
Pricing such unique objects has been ''one of the hardest things,'' says the designer.
``I figured what the piece had in parts, what labor I put into them.''
''Generally,'' Perry says, ``my prices range from $75 to $1,200.''
Perry and his wife, Cindy Kocher, formerly a stage manager on Broadway, moved to
South Miami from Manhattan in August 2004 because she got a job teaching
production stage management at the University of Miami. Since then Perry has
entered many art shows around Florida and has won awards, the most recent an
Award of Distinction from the Naples National Art Festival.
''Growing up I was always good at art,'' he remembers. ``In junior high I designed a
program cover for a show. My brother was in the drama club in high school and I did
the lighting, the backstage work. But at that time I was still more into music than art.''
A drummer and a percussionist, Perry studied at the Musicians Institute in
Hollywood, Calif., and at Berklee College of Music in Boston. After earning degrees
from the North Carolina School of the Arts and Yale University Drama School, he
began designing lighting for theaters off Broadway and all over the country, winning
theatrical lighting awards.
SAW TOWERS FALL
He was working in a theater near the World Trade Center Sept. 11, 2001. ''I stepped
outside and saw the Twin Towers fall. I hate to allude to that as a turning point in my
life, but theater was not so much fun anymore and there was a lot of politics,'' he
says. ``I wanted to be my own boss and I always loved architectural lighting.''
The couple were living in Greenwich Village -- a place for finding great junk -- and
Perry opened a studio. ''I went from music to theater to art,'' he says. ``Friends asked
when was I going to get a real job.''
| The Boston Globe
February 3, 2005
Article by: Linda Matchan, Boston Globe staff
Our home lives are consumed not just by acts of domesticity, but objects of
domesticity. We rely on the most pedestrian of artifacts to help us survive our daily
routines: detergent bottles, lunch bags, coke cans, orange crates, stir sticks.
More often than not, they end up in our trash bins. But now, an exhibit called
''Trashformations East" at Brockton's Fuller Craft Museum, is elevating the status of
the debris of daily life. It showcases the work of 106 East Coast artists who see
treasure in trash and have assigned it a higher calling, from old slide carousels and
empty CD boxes to worn-out oven mitts and plastic newspaper delivery bags. ''I think
artists see creative possibilities in all kinds of materials, and when those materials
are free, there is no risk in experimentation, no fear of the proverbial blank page,"
says Lloyd Herman, the show's curator. ''Some of this material is not necessarily
beautiful as trash, but it becomes more interesting when we see what artists do to
make it into something else."
Oddly, a significant number of the artists are middle-aged and older. Artist Diane
Savona says she's not surprised. ''You have to get to that certain age where you can
appreciate the fact that something does not have to be new to be of value," Savona
Trashformations East, at the Fuller Craft Museum, 455 Oak St., Brockton, through
August 28th. 508-588-6000; www.fullercraft.org.
36, Miami, Fla.
PRIMARY TRASH SOURCE:
Second-hand spoons and forks, light bulbs.
TRASH TALK: ''Why do I like using kitchen items? I came from a theater and lighting
background in New York, and kitchen items give great light and shadows. You stick a
clear bulb in a cheese grater and you get these great patterns on the wall or ceiling.
Forks and spoons give nice detail, and when light bounces off the wall, it reflects
| Naples Daily News
October 16, 2005
Art Fair brings the unique to Downtown Naples
Article by: Tracy X. Miguel
Cheese graters, vintage toasters and rusty hubcaps were part of the seventh
annual Downtown Naples Art Fair.
Among the array of unique arts and crafts along Fifth Avenue South, people
discovered that kitchen utensils aren't just for cooking, but can be sculptural
light fixtures as well.
Artist Robert Perry scours the streets for junk and uses it to create light fixtures
in his Miami studio.
"I go to swap shops, flea markets and junkyards. I try to find recyclable items,"
Perry's art idea emerged after working in theater lighting in New York.
"It's all about light and shadow," said Perry, who named his company
Structures of Light.
Many people who attended, including Dolores Araujo and Connie Babcock, both
of Boston, were intrigued by Perry's lighting sculptures. "The festival has a lot of
things to look at," said Araujo, 53, who has attended several Naples festivals.
| South Florida Sun-Sentinel
September 4, 2005
Art Lives On
Article by: Yolanda Sanchez
Patty Leitner of Fort Lauderdale, who has attended the art festival since it began 18
years ago, stood amazed in front of a 1950s toaster that held six tube-shaped light
bulbs, instead of two slices of toasted bread. The booth, "Structures of Light" by
Robert Perry, was filled with metallic objects, mostly vintage, all converted into light
"He is cool," Leitner said. "He turns everyday things into works of art."
Perry confirmed Leitner's observation.
"I have a wall full of things that I have collected from junk yards and swap shops and I
just put them together, " Perry said, "I just get inspired."
| The Stuart News
February 6, 2005
Odds & ends to high-end at Hobe Sound art show
Article by: Charlie Reed, staff writer
HOBE SOUND — George Conrades didn't know he was in the market for a new
lamp until he saw the cheese-grater-turned-light fixture dubbed "Cooking" at Robert
Perry's display at the Hobe Sound Festival of the Arts on Saturday.
"We already have a lamp in the kitchen, but it's not nearly as much fun," Conrades
Perry, an industrial- inspired lighting designer based in Miami, works with forks and
spoons, bicycle wheels and other nonconventional materials. His tent was one of
many that drew festivalgoers in for a closer look.
"People don't always like it or want to buy it, but they usually want to see it up close,"
Whether it's high-end paintings or unique knick- knacks, the festival has something
for everyone. But fine-art aficionados will find a greater selection than at a typical
sidewalk show with pieces upwards of $10,000.
Award-winning artists from around the world are exhibiting at the Festival of the Arts,
which continues today.
Sculptural Art for Tube Lovers
Article by: A. Colin Flood
Slim and graying Robert Perry -- once of New York, NY; now of Miami, Florida -- crafts
lamps, fans and sculptures with light bulbs and stainless steel to which tweaking
audiophiles, who lean towards the analog version of amplification, will be
immediately attracted. Mr. Perry custom designs elegant lighting fixtures and
sculptures. His simple machines capture a chuff of a steam, a cough of car or groan
of canvas. His work whiffs the 1930s retro-scientific future, to create interplays of light
and delicate glowing golden filaments, of shadow and sturdy, shaped steel.
Take project "Silence" for example. Two portly glass bulbs, shaped like juicy
up-side-down pears, glowing with luscious gold filaments, stand proudly, high on
narrow shining stalks, like castle parapets, above the brushed gleam of heavy
stainless steel tree-like roots. NOT a tube amplifier, no. A piece of art. A machine. A
toy for tube-ophiles. His structures of light and metal are kin to skyscrapers, neon
signs and glowing amplifiers.
Marriages, be they now, of form and function. Two 1910 Edison Style 40-watt bulbs
with squirrel cage filaments glow brightly above dual polished and brushed
aluminum silver flutes, fashioned from truck horns. The solid $450 piece invokes the
room-loving blush of a tube amplifier, at the same entry-level price, but without the
Although Perry's "Burnt" pokes fun at conventional kitchen toasters, its eight clear
candelabra bulbs invoke tube loaded power amplifiers. Tube-ophiles will want to
plug it into something to make music. See Perry's web site for more of his tube-like
workings. Perry had special requests for tube-amplifier or antique radio sculptures
before. He says he can make them for about the same price as his other glowing
works. For inspiration, stroll through our Tube Lust Pages for more glorious
concoctions of glowing filaments, colorful cases and powerful music making magic.