Man of metal

Rusty Mali 1.jpg

Russ Brebner is like a bowerbird. He just loves to collect, convert and create. Finding some old metal in his shed in 2005 and then purchasing a welder, this Mornington Peninsula artist has been making “all kinds of metal creatures, including animals, birds, robots, ray guns and everything in between” ever since. 

Russ continues: “Every piece contains many ‘found’ recycled metals. I work across four main areas, including recycled metal art, letterboxes and numbers, gates and screens, and garden sculptures. Collecting the metal is half the fun and I design and manufacture each one-of-a-kind piece from start to finish. My first sculpture created from that first piece of metal was a robot called Bert. He gave me the inspiration to create more characters with other scrap metal I had lying around. I ended up selling lots at a local market. That’s when I bought a bigger welder, made a bigger workshop and began making bigger sculptures.”

The rest, as they say, is history. Russ began to have great success selling his art at markets across the Peninsula and started entering his work in local art shows. He won the Best Sculpture Award at the 2012 Derinya Art & Craft Exhibition and was selected as a contributing artist for the Mali in the City program at the Royal Melbourne Zoo in 2012, where he created his piece Rusty Mali. He then collaborated with Frankston City Council to design and construct decorative sculptures for the festive Christmas program in 2015 and recently won the Highly Commended Sculpture Award for his piece entitled Tic Toc at Art Red Hill 2019. 

Check out his terrific metal masterpieces at Blue Mini Café in Rosebud West or go online at to take a peek. His showroom in Carrum Downs is open 10am-2pm Monday-Saturday and other times by appointment.

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