Brian Johnson has escaped the rat race and started a career making custom-made, quirky creations.
Brian Johnson has escaped the rat race and started a career making custom-made, quirky creations.

Coast man turns trash into shiny, space-age treasure

OLD sewing machines, barbecues, bowls and kitchenware are being given a new lease of life by a Kunda Park collector and transformed into space-age robots.

Sick of 40 years in the rat race, Brian Johnson decided a few years ago to turn his passion for all things sci-fi into a living.

Brian Johnson has moved from shopping centre management to making ornamental robots.
Brian Johnson has moved from shopping centre management to making ornamental robots.

He began turning unwanted recycled metals that were lurking in storage or under houses and began creating life-sized robots - first for fun, now for an income.

Originally the robots were inspired by Star Wars cult hero R2D2, but now they're starting to form a quirky, nostalgic following.

"I find science fiction just so appealing. I remember standing in line for the first screening of Star Wars in 1979," Mr Johnson said.

"I grew up with Pac Man and Space Invaders too, and like everyone I dream of the future.

"They're starting to evolve too. I'm experimenting with LED lighting and solar panels now.

"After 40 years working in shopping centre management, I needed a break. Now I'm doing something I've always wanted to do."

Mr Johnson's partner runs Deb's Second Hand and Collectables, which allows him to go to weekend swap meets and trade goods.

Brian Johnson has moved from shopping centre management to making ornamental robots.
Brian Johnson has moved from shopping centre management to making ornamental robots.

His main problem is sourcing metal.

But through word of mouth, slowly but surely, people are coming to him with their metal bound for the scrap heap.

"Kerbside pick-ups were amazing but they're gone. People are supportive though, they like to see what I create," he said.

"A lot of people bring in something of grandad's or nana's, something they identify with.

"Most people put them in gardens or are used as a conversational piece."