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Josh Waddell

born 1974, Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Josh has used found objects to build with since he was a child. Although he has a Master’s degree in School Counseling, he has taken no formal art courses.  In fact, Josh says learning to weld in high school shop class was the most useful formal education he has received.  He learns by trial and error and when that’s not enough, he looks online or finds a teacher.

The leap from working full time as a school counselor to full time upcycling came when he built a lamp out of repurposed objects for a fundraiser. A bidding war ensued and after the auction he got several orders.  With the blessing of his wife and two sons, Josh started 3 Bulls Upcycling in 2020. Upcycling full-time is Josh’s answer to his favorite counseling question, “What would you do if you couldn’t fail?”

Josh’s unique creations are quite varied: from robots, ray guns, futuristic animals, and all things sci-fi, to functional furniture. He works both small and large scale. Recently, he began entering Art Car competitions and in 2023, won first place in the contraptions category at Houston’s big event. His contraption was called: Repurposed Ride on Robotk, a functional driving robot mixing spare parts from a floor scrubber and an electric wheel chair with other random parts.

Josh has a good stock of objects on hand that he collects from garage and estate sales, thrift stores, and people’s cast-offs. He also has an extensive network of people who donate items for him to repurpose. Rarely, when needing something missing from his eclectic inventory, he will resort to buying a part. Josh can become attached to his creations, making them hard to give up.  

You can see more of Josh’s work at Buck Atom’s Comic Curios on Route 66 in Tulsa.

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