Vollis Simpson has been creating spectacular folk art since World War II. His medium of choice is pretty much any type of junk he can get his hands on. Some of his sculptures are as tall as buildings. The North Carolina native’s work is on display at several museums across the U.S., including museums in New York, Atlanta and Baltimore.
Many of Simpson’s sculptures are a type windmill referred to as whirligigs. His first whirligig was actually created for a practical purpose. It was during World War II where Simpson was serving in Saipan. He created a whirligig to generate power for a washing machine, according to PBS.org.
After retiring from his machine repair shop in 1985, Simpson began creating his unique folk art on a more regular basis, saying “I had to find something that was better than watching television.”
It wasn’t long before Simpson’s North Carolina farm was littered with whirligigs and other sculptures made from junk, some as tall as 50-feet. He eventually began selling smaller pieces for $200 to $1,000 a pop.
At 93-years-young, Simpson is unable to maintain his collection anymore, particularly the larger pieces. The nearby city of Wilson has agreed to create a two-acre whirligig park showcasing 30 of Simpson’s largest pieces. The team is currently restoring many of the older pieces. The park is scheduled to open in November, 2013.
Simpson epitomizes what turning trash into treasure is all about. With a little creativity and imagination, you can turn junk into just about anything. Despite the fact he has 50+ years of success in the world of art, Simpson doesn’t refer to himself as an artist. He simply refers to himself as “an old country boy.”
(Watch the video below the images)