Hyper-Realistic Rubber: Tire Sculpture by Yong Ho Ji

shark figure made out of recycled tires

Whenever I take road trips, I often notice the hulking shreds of stripped semi tires laying around, and I’ve always thought two things: one, they look almost organic- like they’re actually the carcasses of some prehistoric animal that blundered its way onto the highway, and two- that that animal must have been damn ugly. But when I saw a tire sculpture by Yong Ho Ji the other day, I realized I was pretty wrong about the hideous part. He reassembles strips of old tires with resins and screws into gorgeous creatures with predatory stances and sinuous movement.

Hyper-Realistic Rubber: Tire Sculpture by Yong Ho Ji

rhinocerous head tire sculpture
We love our cars, so seeing tires re-purposed after their regular lifespan into perfect manly sculptures is totally bad ass. It’s the macho trifecta: hang one of these rubber animal busts on the wall, and you get the appearance of being an awesome trophy hunter without actually killing any animals, you’re saving the planet by recycling, and your sculpture isn’t some sissy flowers or soapstone carved by a three year old. Look at that rhino; he wouldn’t think twice about goring you, but it’s his head on the wall, not yours. Clearly, you are a primal alpha male hunter, and those don’t get to be awesome at stabbing animals to death because they own a collection of adorable kitten statuettes.
blackbuck head made out of recycled tires


  1. mack says

    Not sure you can have hyper-realistic sculptures of fantasy figures! Maybe it should be called hyper-unrealistic sculpture ?

  2. Anonymouse says

    Hyper realistic? Really? They’re good sculptures for sure, and great use of the medium, but they’re barely even realistic. Hyper realistic – not even close.

    • starswimmer says

      honestly, i promise you that you couldn’t event come close to his work. making art out of tires? for real? you don’t think thats in any way interesting? if you dont like it, move on.

      • pepe says

        how is your comment even remotely relevant to what he wrote? autor just use random terms without understanding them and that has nothing to do with artist

  3. Moondog says

    I’m loving sculptures, rubber would be a great material to use… Gina? Do you know what “hyper realistic” means?

    • Gina says

      Haha, it looks like when the train gets rolling, everyone jumps on board!
      I definitely agree with all of your comments. In terms of perfect existing anatomy, yes, these sculptures are not fine examples of realism, but I look at them a little differently than all of you do, I think.
      To me, each of these animals looks like it is stripped down to it’s raw parts; instead of perfectly crafted complete creatures, it’s like looking at corded muscle and bunched sinews that you don’t normally get to see. In most of the pieces there is a sense of ‘almost’ movement in the physiology that the most painstakingly carved statues or perfectly rendered paintings often can’t capture.
      But largely, my usage of the term comes from the expressions of the creatures- when I look at them, there’s no mistaking what they are because of how absolutely perfectly their essence is captured. The docile, cow-eyed face of the bull; the flighty, unsettled zebra and blackbuck, and that shark who stares right at you and into you and ‘knows’ that you’re scared and that you’re lunch.
      The usage may not be perfect to all of you, and viewed through more traditional facets, not even to me- but what these pieces are most evocative of, for me, fits the bill just perfectly.

      • Dave says

        When did a perfect rendering of anything become art? That’s what cameras are for.
        This is beautiful, evocative, moving work. I can almost feel the sadness of the demon in the last picture.

        Thanks for sharing this.

  4. says

    I get exactly what you mean when you say “hyper realism”. I saw immediately the sinew and muscle and tissue of these creatures and am blown away at the work involved with taking basically trash and turning it into these amazing works of art. Not sure I get peoples need to pick on the wording of the title and not mention what a wonderful job this artist has done. These are brilliant.

  5. C Willow says

    Those chunks of rubber tire seemingly strung about on our roads, actually are referred to (by truck drivers) as ‘gators’…this guy is amazing!!

  6. matthew says

    Awesome article. Goes to prove the saying that one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. One thing that would be awesome is a gallery from start to finish on these. And information for how long they take to make, and how many tires that are used in each piece.

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