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Fish Automaton

34 inches in length!  Fish automaton features 8 different swimming movements


We want to say thank you to Debra and Joe for giving this piece a wonderful place to swim and see the water in St. Simons!  They had the creativity and ingenuity to set up the automaton so that it can be controlled remotely by Google voice! Great idea!!  We need you guys on our design team! 

  Here's a photo of the the fish they sent to us, in it's new home. We always appreciate and love to see the final installation, so thank you for the picture guys!


This 3-foot long automaton sculpture is styled after a Rockfish and features hand-hammered copper outer stripes and head.  I wanted to capture the feel of the subject swimming peacefully through the calm deep waters of the sea, so I granted him the ability to move his eyes to see the wonders of the ocean depths while swimming.  I also  created oscillating pectoral fins, pelvic fins, and caudal fin (tail fin).  Now he's all set to wonder the water world on his own. 

     As always, my automatons are created from reclaimed and recycled objects.  I greatly admire the abilities of other artists to create from metal, but I've always been a big proponent in reducing our carbon footprint and preserving this grand planet we live on, so I take my metal art to the next level by creating mechanisms from reclaimed metal objects and hardware instead of creating new waste with purchased metal sheets or stock. Even the copper skin on this piece is created from salvaged copper water pipes.  By cutting them in a specific way and taking the time to flatten them out, and then form them into shape, I am able to create the form without using newly manufactured materials. 

     This is especially meaningful to me as I have been witness to copper mining industry misuse of environments, such as in the history of Copperhill, Tennessee, and truly want to eliminate such environmental destruction by utilizing existing reclaimed copper products that I find and re-use. It is my hope that by showing the many endless possibilities of using reclaimed metal objects, that others will help with the efforts to preserve our beautiful home by being creative with what we can reclaim, recycle, and repurpose. It's always a wonderful thing to see the creativity and ingenuity of others when they get excited about this art or other environmentally-aware art.  Everyone has their own eye for forms and use of objects, and that is always an inspiration for me to continue to be creative and not place limits on what can be done with a little imagination and creativity.  I think everyone, whether they know it or not, is an artist of some form.


Jean Claude Vanderfield is a modern automaton creator and sculptor that adds the element of his career as an industrial automation specialist and experience in engineering to his deep desire to preserve our environment by reusing, recycling, reclaiming, and taking positive action as an artist to raise awareness of the many ways we can improve the quality of our precious home.  If you see yourself as someone who would like to help raise awareness by owning these limited productions, feel free to call me personally at the number in my bio page or email me.  I would be happy to work with you in creating a commissioned work from your own ideas.    

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