Meet the artist making movie monsters to save the planet

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For more than half a century, they’ve taken the silver screen by storm, wreaking havoc and tearing down skyscrapers in big cities across the world.

But now a new breed of movie monsters in Leeds are doing their bit to save the earth thanks to the eco-friendly efforts of an imaginative local artist.

Leeds Museums and Galleries technician Kevin Blenkinsop has crafted a series of amazing models for Temple Newsam’s Fantastical Beasts exhibition, all based on the destructive giants made famous by traditional Japanese monster films.

Known as kaiju, those terrifying titans include the mighty Godzilla, who will be hitting cinemas in a new blockbuster soon alongside his beastly brethren.

Unlike their big screen counterparts though, Kevin’s models are good for the planet, fashioned entirely out of recycled or scrap materials.

And young people will have the chance to meet Kevin and find out more about his creations as well as having a go at making their own monsters during half term week at the house.

Kevin, who works helping to install exhibitions at Leeds Museums and Galleries sites, said: “All of the models at Temple Newsam are based on the old Japanese monster films, but everything I make is created using things that people would normally throw away, so it’s good for the environment too.

“I use anything that might otherwise get chucked out and I’ve made everything from monsters to animals like tigers, rhinos and even a sperm whale. It’s really enjoyable taking something like an old plastic bottle, recycling it and turning it into something else.”

Kevin has been making models for more than 14 years after starting out painting. He also created an impressive elf’s workshop at Temple Newsam, which has been amazing children visiting the house for the last few Christmases.

He said he hoped next week’s activities would encourage budding artists to think more about how they can get creative with things that might otherwise end up in the bin.

He said: “I really hope it helps them look at things a bit differently and to think about what they could create with items that are just lying around or that they might throw away.”

Temple Newsam’s Fantastical Beasts exhibition explores the stories behind mythical creatures through the ages.

Exhibits on display include two replicas of late medieval bestiaries on loan from the University of Leeds’s Brotherton Library which catalogue an array of mysterious alongside a fossilised icthyosaurus, a dolphin-like Jurassic marine reptile.

Also on display is the pelvis of a dodo, the famous extinct birds which were hunted out of existence in the 1660s.

Temple Newsam’s Clutter Critters activities will run throughout the half terms and will young visitors a chance to make a monster using junk objects collected during school visits and from the estate café.

Visitors wanting some extra inspiration can meet Kevin and hear about his models at the house on May 29 from 11am until 12pm.

For more details about Fantastical Beasts, please visit: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/museumsandgalleries/templenewsamhouse/exhibitions/fantastical-beasts

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