MC Clawhammer is one of the robots in the exhibit opening Jan. 25 at ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture.

MC Clawhammer is one of the robots in the exhibit opening Jan. 25 at ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture.

TIFTON — Visitors can begin the new decade with their very own robot when they attend a new exhibition on Jan. 25 at the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture. Titled “Rust and Recreation,” the exhibition of 70 robots by Columbus native Dave Clegg will include several with price tags on them.

“‘Rust & Recreation’ celebrates the fact that there is a treasure trove of beautifully aging vintage objects out there just waiting to be discovered and assembled into something new,” museum curator Polly Huff said. “Many of the robots have been given clever and descriptive names, and most of the robots in the exhibition will be available for purchase.”

In a 10 a.m. to noon gathering in the museum gallery on Jan. 25, guests can meet Clegg, participate in a conversation about his work, tour his very first public exhibition, and enjoy coffee and pastries. “Rust & Recreation” will open during the Annual Wiregrass Plant and Seed Swap at the Museum Gallery.

After graduating from Georgia State University in 1980 with a major in graphic design, Clegg had a long and fulfilling career as an illustrator. His clients have included Sports Illustrated, Hardee’s, Scholastic, Jelly Belly Candy Company and Ranger Rick Magazine.

The 2005 animated film “Robots” made a huge impression on Clegg, who is a self-confessed lover of retro sci-fi character design, especially the older models with their dents, scratches and faded paint.

“Inspired to create robots of his own, Dave began collecting found objects, mostly things from around the house that were no longer of use,” Huff said. “Soon, he was frequenting thrift stores in search of anything metal, which led to his earliest creations being composed mostly of pots, pans, candlesticks and the like.”  

Clegg’s illustration career was keeping him very busy during this time, and he eventually abandoned the robots for about a decade. Fast-forward to late 2017 when he was cleaning the basement, not knowing what to do with the unfinished robots and parts.

Eventually he decided to complete a few of them and dispose of everything else. During this process, it became clear that he would need more than just the parts on hand. During a visit to a local antique mall, Clegg ran across a vintage tobacco tin with a great patina. This was the beginning of a new direction. He had found renewed inspiration, and soon he was hooked on building robots once again.

Throughout 2018, Clegg and his wife scoured thrift stores, flea markets and antique malls across North Georgia in search of vintage objects such as wrenches, pliers, springs, opera glasses, lanterns, and clocks.  By the end of the year, he had completed 37 robots. He was beginning to develop a style of his own, which continues to evolve. Clegg has now completed over 70 bots.

“We spent over a year working out all the details, and in the end, a unique exhibit spotlighting the robots was curated and is being displayed in public for the very first time by the Gallery of ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture,” Huff said.

“Rust & Recreation” will remain on display through July 3. Admission to this exhibit is included in the GMA’s daily admission, free to ABAC students, faculty and staff with an ABAC ID, and free to GMA Annual Pass holders.

The Museum is open from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Jan. 25.  For more information on this and future exhibits, interested persons can contact Huff at phuff@abac.edu.

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