Wednesday, 7 August 2013

artists that inspire me: Bruno Torfs

Today's artist is a man I greatly admire, not only for his art, but also for his spirit and his courage.

 An artist-friend of mine, that I painted with every Thursday, told me about him when she heard that we were thinking about emigrating to Australia.

 He was born in South America, but moved to Belgium at the age of 15. That's where she got to know him. Later, he emigrated to Australia with his family to create a sculpture garden that he wanted to run as a permanent attraction.

They moved to Marysville, a small village in Victoria, on a property with a large section of rainforest.

After 5 months of hard work, he opened his art and sculpture garden to the public. On the property was also a gallery that housed over 200 of his artworks brought over from Europe, that included oil paintings, sketches and smaller sculptures.

But on the 7th of February 2009, a devastating bushfire raged through the region, destroying everything in its path and killing a total of 173 people. 90% of the buildings in the village were destroyed and 45 people died in that town alone. Bruno was extremely lucky to survive with his family.

For 2 months, people were not allowed to go back to their town. Bruno knew his home and his gallery were completely destroyed, but he didn't know the extent of the damage to his sculpture garden.

The terracotta forms of his sculptures resisted the heat of the fire almost completely, but falling branches and tumbling trees had reduced many of the life-sized artworks to rubble and dust.

Bruno chose to stay in Marysville and start the gigantic task of rebuilding his home and restoring the gardens.

It will be many years though before the forest resembles the lush wonderland that it used to be.

 I can't even begin to express the respect I feel for someone with his courage. Looking at the pictures on his website, seeing all the devastation and all the work that had to be done, it blows my mind.

 His art is amazing, it just fits so well within the natural setting.
It is one of my biggest wishes to one day visit these beautiful gardens. It must be such a joy wandering around there, encountering sculptures everywhere.

If you want to see more of this artist, please visit his website.

Here's a Youtube-video where you can see the devastation the fire caused, and how the garden was rebuilt. It's heartwarming to see the support he got from friends and neighbours, and it's simply amazing how it looks again.

Hope you likd today's inspiring artist! Thanks so much for visiting, I'll be back on Friday!


  1. Ik had al vaker beelden van hem gezien op internet. Geweldige sculpturen, maar ik wist niets van de verwoesting die de brand had aangericht. Gelukkig is het weer heropend. Mooi hoor! En bedankt voor de mooie video erbij.

  2. Absolutely stunning Denise... how heartbreaking to see such magical work destroyed... and yet how wonderful to see this wonderland in the process of rebuilding... Marysville is only a couple of hours from me I think... I would love to visit now too... thank you for sharing such enchantment...

    Jenny ♥

  3. Hi Denise, Thanks for your lovely words about my last art post.
    I have been a fan of Bruno's work for years and was devastated for him and his family at the time of the fires. and so happy it is all back there to be seen. I hope I get there soon as I've been wanting to see it all again..Thanks for sharing his story on your post.
    By the way, your new look blog is gorgeous!!!!

  4. what a beautiful post. It really tugged at my heart watching the video, along with the beautiful music. The sculptures are magical. Thanks for sharing them.

  5. What a lovely post and what a stunning place. It looked magical. What a crying shame that the fire destroyed so much in its path including this beautiful place. It's very admirable that he started all over to rebuild it.

  6. what a wonderful artist!! i'm glad to see he was able to recover from the fire and recreate the gardens again. lovely!!

  7. hello Denthe,
    thank you for sharing this artist and his arts! Such a beautiful wonder land. sad that it burned and amazing that the artist takes steps after step to bring it back to life. I can see why you are enchanted with his art! Gosh, i might have to order his book.

  8. Hi Denise,
    truly amazing sculptures! how wonderful would it be to have a wander around his garden!

  9. Ha Dente, vol bewondering gekeken en gelezen
    Prachtig werk en geweldig dat deze kunstenaar
    naar zo,n grote ramp groots is terug gekomen
    verdiend alle eer en de beelden tuin is prachtig.
    Dank je dat ik dit kon zien
    Liefs een groet

  10. Thank you for this post! This sculptures are unbelievable!!! Bye I must see his website now :)
    Best, Beate

  11. Ocean of tears in the music composed and played on piano by Bruno's artist daughter Iris.
    They are just wonderful people.
    Alan - Kinglake

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this Alan! I didn't know his daughter was an artist too. The music is beautiful, just like the sculptures ....


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