All images courtesy of Andrew Chase

Assemblage artist Andrew Chase likes to keep things simple, naming his pieces after what they depict, hence, “Cheetah,” “Giraffe,” “Elephant,” hardly preparing the viewer for the piece of fine craftsmanship they are about to see. An elephant, for example, lovingly formed out of old automobile and plumbing parts, the gray, shiny metal so perfectly complementing the elephant’s natural characteristics that one expects the mechanical creature to come to life at any moment.

Andrew Chase is based in Salt Lake City, and is a self-employed commercial photographer, furniture maker and welder — all talents he employs when making his lifelike mechanical animals. Each piece is made of various recycled automobile and plumbing parts and takes between 80 and 120 hours to make.

“Elephant” — 36″ (91cm) x 36″ (91cm) x 18″ (46cm):

However, if you were expecting the animal to come to life, you would not be too far wrong. In fact, the elephant can lower its trunk and move its ears back and forth and fan them out. Thanks to a complicated interplay of transmission parts, electrical conduits, piping and 20-gauge, cold-rolled steel (and about 100 hours of work) the 110-pound colossus is able to move and can even stand on its hind legs.

Chase is not only a sculptor and assemblage artist, but he has also been a photographer for many years. The ability to see nature close up and the opportunity to come in close contact with many creatures has paved the way for his kinetic sculptures. Only someone who understands an animal’s movement and grace in real life could replicate these qualities in such extraordinary fashion.

Then, there’s “Giraffe,” standing 6 feet tall. It is made from sheet steel, transmission parts, plumbing pipes and electrical conduits so that each joint can move and will lock into place for positioning. A transparent construction allows viewers to watch a complex mesh of gears and levers at play. The neck rises when moved with a removable crank; the neck when lifting the tail. But don’t try this with a real giraffe!

It helps, of course, that Chase is also a welder who knows his craft well. He takes pride in assembling each metal piece where it fits best — hub caps become giant joints and a metal grill is transformed into a rib cage while metal rollers turn into claws.

“Cheetah” — 24″(61cm) x 50″(127cm):

“Cheetah” is an awe-inspiring piece of work. Somehow, Chase manages to capture the animal’s movements perfectly with just a bit of electrical conduit, auto transmission parts, 20-gauge steel and random junk metal parts.

This stop-motion movie shows “Cheetah” in motion, but you will have to pick your jaw up when it has finished!

While “Cheetah,” “Giraffe” and “Elephant” were designed by Chase for a 50-page picture book about Robot TME, or Trionic Morphatractable Engineer, Chase sells other pieces online and through galleries. If you’re inspired and have an idea of your own, he also accepts commissioned pieces. More information can be found on his website. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5