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Artist Sculpts Aluminum Cans into Insanely Detailed Artworks Using Only His Thumbs

The intricate aluminum can sculptures of Noah Deledda look like the work of precise automated machines, but the Tampa Bay-based artist makes them all by hand, using only his thumbs to create dents and creases in the soft metal.

Looking at the perfect geometric patterns sculpted into these shiny aluminum cans, you’d be excused for thinking that Noah Deledda is actually a robot. Just look at them, there’s no way anyone could be this precise with their hands, let alone only their thumbs. Which is why the talented artist has had to produce video evidence of the creative process, and prove that he doesn’t just use some kind of press to shape the recycled aluminum cans.

Photo: © Noah Deledda

The incredibly talented artist starts off by sanding away the printed layer of the can, and then proceeds to polish it until it’s nice and shiny. Then comes the really hard part – using his thumbs to create creases and dents into the soft metal, while making sure that they all come out flawless, as if they were made by a machine. As you can imagine, it’s a painstaking process that requires mountains of patience, and Deledda confirms that he developed his technique through years of trial and error.

 

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“Crushing, denting and creasing become a method to create design, precision, symmetry and balance. Mind you this process developed over years through trial and error and lots of practice,” Noah Deledda wrote on his website. “It’s important to me that this is all carried out by hand without special tools or extraordinary manipulation. The shaping of the can is a thumb driven process that cooperates with the form of the cylinder.”

 

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Throughout the years, Deledda has taught himself to produce different geometrical designs, one more impressive than the other.

 

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In an interview with WEDU Arts Plus, the artist said that the most common response to his art is people saying that they have never seen anything like it before. He considers it ironic, because of course they have; people see crushed aluminum cans all the time, just not this way. Deledda sees his art as proof that a generally destructive force such as crushing can actually be creative and presented as art.

 

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Believe it or not, this incredible art form was born out of boredom. Noah Deledda was in the back seat of a car traveling back home from Orlando, and he had nothing to do. He had just finished a can of Red Bull and he just started playing with it.

 

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“I had nothing to do, I didn’t have an iPhone to mess around with, so I just started fiddling with this can that had been partially crushed,” the artist recalls. ‘And I noticed that in a way the dents would allow certain shapes to form, they would allow themselves to be manipulated. At the time I just made a mental note to return to the idea at a later time.”

Then, he applied some geometry, some artistic principles of repetition and his experimenting ended up becoming something more than even he thought it would. Today, Noah Deledda is an internationally celebrated artist, and his incredibly detailed sculpted cans sell for over $2,000 a piece.

You can check out more of Noah Deledda’s awe-inspiring artworks on his website, as well as on Facebook and Instagram.

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