Spanner is a term that many don’t hear or use in the United States. It is a British and Australian term for wrench or monkey wrench. International vernacular aside, there isn’t much that people can say about a spanner. It is a somewhat heavy metal object that comes in all shapes and sizes, and can typically be found in garages and barns country-wide. One man, however, sees them as something much more: the building blocks of art.
John Piccoli of Victoria, Australia, also known as “The Spanner Man”, uses these innocuous household items to create something incredible. He uses hundreds of spanners that are no longer in use and makes them into amazing sculptures that he uses to decorate his ranch. What is more amazing is he does this all from his wheelchair.
It all began over 30 years ago when Piccoli started to make small garden objects out of spanners that he had collected. Over the years, the creations became more elaborate, and his spanner collection grew bigger and bigger. Now, his art is featured in museums and galleries across the whole of Australia.
Piccoli contracted polio as a child, and the disease left him in a wheelchair. His barn is equipped with a cross-over gantry crane and several block and tackles that allow him to get around and create his 3D sculptures. Piccoli is currently in his 70’s.
If you ever happen to be in the area of Victoria, Australia, tours of his ranch can be arranged. Much of his art is displayed in his yard.