Written by: Emily Sabens, Public Relations Intern

It’s often said that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

However, no one takes that mantra as seriously as artist Leo Sewell.

Sewell grew up near a dump. He would often find pieces of trash and take them back to his home, playing and experimenting with the objects.

This childhood pastime would later turn into his career.

For the past 50 years, Sewell has made sculptures out of various pieces of “junk.” He searches the streets of Philadelphia, where he lives, looking for interesting objects he can incorporate into his artwork. In his workshop, he currently holds more than 100,000 unique objects, from corn holders to gold-plated shark teeth.

Sewell’s works are featured in numerous institutions across the country – including a stegosaurus at the American Visionary Art Museum, a duck at the Fuller Craft Museum and even a 12-foot-tall dinosaur at the one and only Garbage Museum. His art was even featured on the show “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.”

Here at the David Owsley Museum of Art, you can see one of Sewell’s amazing works for yourself. “Man,” created around 1970, is comprised of a variety of carefully selected objects. Mass media images, children’s toys and scraps of metal all come together to form an anatomically correct man.


“Man” is considered to be part of the 1960s Pop Art movement, which used media and everyday objects to reflect the 20th century rise in consumer culture.

Plan a visit to DOMA to see one of Sewell’s innovative works for yourself. “Man” is located upstairs in the Ball Brothers Foundation Gallery.