Robot sculptures feed the homeless in Phoenix

BY Victoria Fleischer  August 19, 2014 at 3:34 PM EDT

Arizona artist Alexi Devilliers constructs sculptures, robots and other fun creatures out of recycled tin cans. The tin cans he uses for his projects come from ingredients in meals he cooks up every week, which he then donates to elderly homeless veterans in Phoenix. Arizona PBS spoke to Devilliers to learn more. Video produced by Jennifer Burke/Arizona PBS

Alexi Devilliers creates sculptures out of used cans of food. His home is filled with sharks, dogs and airplanes, fish saws to cut branches, robot lunch boxes and lamps, and toilet paper holders made out cans of beans.

But these sculptures are more than meets the eye.

“These cans have a story behind them. Every single one of them either fed an elderly homeless person or a battered woman at the shelter,” said Devilliers.

The “recycle artist” noticed how many homeless people were near his home in Phoenix, Arizona. Four years ago, he started cooking hot meals and bringing them to the shelter down the street. He uses the cans from the meals as the building blocks for his sculptures, which he sells in order to make more meals.

Devilliers says he is trying with his art to “alleviate some of the tragedy in these people’s lives.” And for the people who buy his work, “now you have a good story.”

Local Beat is a weekly series on Art Beat that features arts and culture stories from PBS member stations around the nation.