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Leo Sewell

BIOGRAPHY

b. 1945

Leo Sewell (b. 1945) is an American "found object" artist. His assemblages of recycled material are in over 40 museums and in private collections worldwide.

Sewell was born in Annapolis, Maryland and moved to Philadelphia in 1974. As a child in Annapolis, he "recalls the "excitement of tinkering" with stuff he discovered and recovered during walks in the woods and visits to the naval-community dump." As an adult, he earned a B.A. in Business and a Masters in Art History at the University of Delaware, writing his Masters thesis on the "Use of the Found Object in Dada and Surrealism." However, he never had formal studio training which places him in the Visionary art category.

Sewell's art follows naturalistic themes, and animals feature prominently in his creations. His collage-like sculpture is assembled from metal, wood, and plastic that he collects from trash, yard sales, and flea markets. For some commissions, he uses objects, often of sentimental value or with personal meaning, contributed by the patron who has commissioned the art.

Sewell has produced over 4,000 works over the last 50 years. His art has been seen on children's television shows including Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and Captain Noah, is in the permanent collections of 23 Ripley's Believe It or Not! museums worldwide and in museums such as the American Visionary Art Museum, the Garbage Museum, Stratford, CT, Shonandai Cultural Center, Fujisawa, Japan, Museo de Sera International, Madrid, Spain, Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum, and Chicago Children's Museum. His work is also collected by corporations including Nike, Inc and NBC. Sewell has produced public art works for institutions including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‎, and local state environmental protection offices.

Sewell is a member and co-founder of the artists' group, the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers.