Bruce Larsen (1959- ) is a sculptor and special-effects artist known internationally for what has been called his “Repo-Renaissance” style. Larsen repurposes discarded and found objects into sculptures that typically depict animals in action poses and humans playing sports. He uses his artwork to bring new meaning to the objects while still allowing them to show their history. Larsen has won several awards for his artwork and is also known for his work in movies. He was inducted into the Alabama Art Hall of Fame in 2016.
Bruce Larsen Larsen was born in Birmingham, Jefferson County, on August 29, 1959, to Harry S. and Aurelio Parris Larsen. He grew up in Auburn, Lee County, where his father was a professor of forestry and wildlife sciences at Auburn University. Larsen developed an interest in art at an early age, which was encouraged by his parents and teachers. He made his first sculpture, a centipede constructed of coat hangers and blocks of wood, when he was ten. He later enrolled at Auburn, where he studied industrial design.
After a year at Auburn, he decided to take some time away from college and opened an air-brush shop in New Jersey. He attracted the attention of noted East Coast surfer and surf shop owner Dan Heritage, who hired Larsen to paint surfboards. In 1983, Larsen returned to Auburn University and graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in 1987. While there, he met his wife, Joy Rose, with whom he has three children. He then moved to Atlanta to work as an animator and a commercial sculptor for the advertising industry. In 1996, Larsen and his family moved to Fairhope, Baldwin County. Less than a year later, their home was flooded during Hurricane Danny. While rebuilding the house, Larsen’s work led him to making sculptures from discarded and reclaimed objects.
The arts community describes Larsen’s style as “Repo-Renaissance.” He chooses objects that have a history and can be recycled: whether a tilling blade he found half-buried in the woods, or a simple heirloom broach. He incorporates these objects into his work, such as a fish made out of gears and a stork made out of old tools. The ideology underlying his work is that to build a better future, humans must learn from and respect the past.
Borzov the Sprinter Larsen has exhibits and installations located across the state. Near his home in south Alabama, his art is permanently displayed at the LODA Artwalk in Mobile, the University of South Alabama and its Children’s Hospital, as well as in Delano Park in Decatur, Morgan County, and the outdoor sculpture garden at the American Sport Art Museum and Archives in Daphne, Baldwin County. His art has been shown in exhibitions at the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, the Mobile Museum of Art, the headquarters of the Mobile Press-Register, and the Huntsville Museum of Art.
In 2016, the Alabama Center for the Arts inducted Larsen into its Hall of Fame. The Center is located in Decatur and is sponsored by Athens State University and Calhoun Community College. He has also won several awards for his artwork, including Best Sculptor in the Nappie Reader’s Choice Awards in Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly in 2015 and 2016. He won Sport Artist of the Year from the American Sport Art Museum and Archives in 2009, the Alabama Artist Award from the Red Clay Survey at the Huntsville Museum of Art, and Best of Show from the Art with a Southern Drawl show at the University of Mobile, both in 2002. He also created a horse sculpture for the Kazakhstan National Embassy in Washington, D.C.
In addition to his sculptures, Larsen is also known for his special-effects work in movies, including mechanical horses he constructed for the Nomad: The Warrior (2005) and Black Knight (2001). He also has made props and created makeup effects for numerous films and was a creature puppeteer for the 2017 film Get Out. Larsen resides in Fairhope with his family.