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Who made the 'Junk Art' of Sebastopol?

A Canadian couple's quirky yard art is a staple in their neighborhood.

SEBASTOPOL, Calif. — If anyone takes a left on Mary’s Lane and heads down Florence Avenue in Sebastopol, they'll find themselves among some very unique lawn ornaments. 

They may look like a folk-art display, but locals call it the "Junk Art of Florence Avenue." It's a collection by Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent.

If anyone takes a closer look, they will understand why it’s called junk art. The arms, legs eyes and just about every body part of the sculptures are made from junk. 

“It’s all pieces that Patrick collects and welds together, then he brings it here and I paint it,” Laurent said.

Amiot and Laurent moved to Sebastopol in 1997. The Canadian couple started out making ceramic artwork but found it difficult to ship to clients. That’s when Patrick discovered welding. 

“When Patrick started to put sculptures on the street, it wasn’t all welcome, but eventually it grew on everyone,” says Brigitte.

Now, just about every house on Florence Avenue has a personalized, commissioned sculpture that has become a permanent fixture and a selling point to the properties around here. When Simone and Anne Lowings moved into their home on Florence Ave., they fell in love with their statue. 

“When we bought the house, Patrick came over and asked if we wanted it removed and my husband said, 'No Patrick, that is why we bought the house,'” the Lowings said.

Today, Amiot's and Laurent's artwork is sold all over the world, but people can experience it for free just by walking down Florence Avenue. People are only asked to respect the homeowners and stay on the sidewalk.

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