The Art of Self-Improvement: Doing What You Love Until It’s Done Right | Barton Gilley | TEDxLSU

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Barton Gilley comes home from work each weekday and escapes into his own magical world of creation. Through character design, production and construction of animatronic sculptures, Barton creates his own fantastical creatures that make movie magic happen. In this whimsical talk, be transported into an animatronics sculptor’s mind as he shows off some of his favorite creations and learn how you always have time for something you love — and to be a little mischievous about how to learn to get things done.

Barton Gilley knows how to get things moving. Literally. A 2008 graduate of Louisiana State University’s Fine Arts program, Barton applies his formal art training with his passion for the playful by conceiving and creating animatronic sculptures. Barton’s affinity for art is a family affair; his father Shelby Gilley founded the renowned Gilley’s Gallery, which today continues Shelby’s legacy of promoting artists like Clementine Hunter and other outsider and folk artists. But for Barton, art intersects special effects in the form of sculptures such as the notorious R2-DBrew seen at LSU tailgates and Super Mario Brothers Fire Lotus Flower featured at events for Baton Rouge’s Elevator Projects and Mini Maker Faire, among others. Where one person sees a few pieces of scrap metal, Barton sees a character and story that can come to life through a symphony of scavenging, sculpting and electronics.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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