As a child, the only motivation for Deval Verma to wake up early on a Sunday was Harun Robert – the artist renowned for making stunning artworks from waste materials. Back then, he hosted the show M.A.D (Music, Art, and Dance) that aired on Pogo Channel. And it was Robert or ‘Rob Uncle’ who introduced the concepts of recycling and ‘Do-It-Yourself’ (DIY) to Deval for the first time. Now, almost 15 years later, Deval has carved his own niche in the same industry. The 28-year-old makes exquisite artworks upcycled from scrap metal.
“Even before I could fully understand the meaning of upcycling, I was using waste materials to make miniature models of cars and motorcycles. After every episode of M.A.D, I would try to use some of Rob’s techniques to build something. I maintained a small kit where I kept all the scrap that I found in my house and school,” Deval, a resident of Indore, tells The Better India.
From forming a strong client base across India to selling his artworks in countries like Singapore, Italy and the United States, Deval’s uncanny artistry has travelled far and wide.
This artist’s journey boasts of around 100 artworks made from three tonnes of waste!
Deval’s First Model
Whenever Deval found time from school schedules and the company of friends, he made toy-sized models inspired by sci-fi movies like Transformers.
The first piece that got a loud cheer from friends and family was a tiny model of a motorcycle he had made using buttons, pen caps, screw and some nails.
In college, Deval pursued Mechanical Engineering and in the four-year course, he went on to make several models from scrap. In his final year, he worked on the official logo of Harley Davidson and the scrap installation that was displayed in the company’s showroom.
By this time, Deval had made connections with local garages and automotive factories who would ring up Deval every time they generated scrap.
Jobs awaited the fresh graduate but he chose to study Product Design from MIT Institute of Design in Pune. By the time he completed his studies, Deval had made up his mind. Art was where his heart was.
Turning Scrap to Art – First Exhibition
“My parents objected. The initial period was rough. Making art from waste was and is still a fairly new market in India. I was not able to detect the pulse of the customers and making revenue was extremely uncertain. On certain occasions, I had second thoughts but my mentors, Janak Palta McGilligan and Sameer Sharma, kept encouraging me,” he shares.
One of Deval’s first exhibitions was in Dubai where he displayed two guitars made with two kilos of metal scrap. Thereafter, through his mentors’ connections, Deval took part in several exhibitions across India.
Alongside, he entered the commercial market to raise awareness about upcycling. He tapped the corporates first and gradually moved toward individual collectors through word of mouth and social media. He also designed installations for companies like BMW and food chains like BBQ Nation.
From clocks to showpieces, all his products are sold on advance bookings.
One of the more popular products among his customers is Deval’s mini-robot planters made with ball bearings, pipes, nuts and bolts. The cute planters are Deval’s attempt to bring nature indoors, “These planters can be kept at office desks or in your room.”
Turning scrap into art needs a creative bend. And turning life’s passion into profession needs courage. Luckily, Deval has vast reserves of both!
Here’s a look at Deval Verma’s beautiful artwork made entirely from scrap metal:
Check out more here.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)