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Greenfield’s Andy Rothschild transforms random objects into works of art

  • A collage of objects that Andy Rothschild repurposes to use in his art. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Andy Rothschild art work. January 24, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Andy Rothschild art work. January 24, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Andy Rothschild art work. January 24, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Andy Rothschild art work. January 24, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Andy Rothschild art work. January 24, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Andy Rothschild with some of his artwork. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Andy Rothschild's wife Cyndie Rothschild brings home things too, like this piece of rust, that Andy uses to make other things in his Greenfield basement. January 24, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Andy Rothschild works in his Greenfield basement. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Andy Rothschild art work. January 24, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz

  • Andy Rothschild art work. January 24, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz



Recorder Staff
Wednesday, February 07, 2018

When Andy Rothschild looks at a rusty metal or discarded plastic, he sees much more than just trash.

Handles of old paint brushes become fish, sand dollars become faces and pieces of broken reflectors become flowers. For the past decade, Rothschild, 70, has been creating “found art” using broken and discarded materials to create unique sculptures that resemble people, plants or animals.

Though he’s not an artist by trade, Rothschild picked up the hobby about a decade ago after losing his close friend, Matthew Leighton, to glioblastoma. Leighton was a well-known artist in the area who did similar work.

“I like to think that some of him is continuing on this way,” Rothschild said.

In his basement studio in Greenfield, Rothschild assembles pieces on a large table, surrounded by bins of nuts, bolts, gears and colorful plastic parts. He describes the process as “play” — trying out different ideas, shapes and approaches. He also deconstructs objects — a typewriter, for example — which he says yields a lot of interesting materials.

What drives him are the materials themselves, which often reveal themselves as different creatures, plants or objects.

“This medium is pretty good for me because you don’t have to draw, you just kind of stick things together until you’re happy,” he said. “The other thing that does tie in to kind of progressive values is really taking stuff that’s getting thrown away and reusing it, and that’s another form of recycling that’s important to me.”

When it comes to creating his pieces, Rothschild said the revision process is essential. Once he moves his work from the table to the wall, Rothschild said the new perspective often reveals potential improvements or changes.

“If there’s something I think could be better, it gives me a mental challenge,” he said.

Rothschild estimates that he’s created about 800 pieces over the past decade, most of which he’s given or sold to friends, or donated to fundraisers.

Though he’s not a trained artist, Rothschild said he’s sharpened one talent in his 70 years — the use of humor.

“This medium, putting together bits and pieces of incongruous materials, lends itself to humor,” he said.

Rothschild picks up some material at tag sales, but said friends give him much of what he uses in his artwork. His wife, Cyndie, also picks up items on her walks — including rust, which Rothschild said he’s particularly fond of.

“I love my time in the basement, it’s quiet time and I love producing something that I actually feel good about in a field that’s not something that comes naturally to me,” he said, adding, “Sometimes I’m amazed at what comes out, I say, ‘Wow, that’s pretty cool.’”