Recycled Mutants: The Weird, Wild Tire Art of Ji Yong Ho


Image via: Gana Art Gallery.

Think that there’s nothing uglier than an evil-smelling, dust-streaked pile of old car tires? You need the creative vision of Korean artist Ji Yong Ho – because shredded rubber can be beautiful.


Image via: Gana Art Gallery.

We mean ‘beautiful’ in a quirky, gnarly, decidedly unnerving way, as you can see. The raw material is from a natural source (latex trees) but after becoming the vulcanized product of human industry, as Yong Ho says, “the look is scary“. Being tough and flexible, tire rubber is a powerfully versatile modelling material in the hands of the right artist. Yong Ho’s interest is in turning some of our millions of unwanted tires into animal art with a difference.


Image via: Gana Art Gallery.

His creatures are often fantastical and fearsome versions of ones we already know – in other words, mutants. They are designed to provoke questions over mankind’s current obsession with genetic engineering and applied ecology, and to evoke an emotional response. They only look fierce until you notice their expressions.


Image via: Gana Art Gallery.

(Except with this one, of course). Yong Ho deliberately picks creatures we regard as “monsters”, then tries to render them in more sympathetic tones. (Spiders? Good luck with that one).


Image via: Gana Art Gallery.

Yong Ho’s first US exhibition was held in New York in 2008, and his work is widely available in art auctions worldwide (through companies like the world-famous Christie’s). He is officially represented by the Gana Art Gallery.