A desire to create eco-friendly artwork sparked the initial motivation for this body of work, exploring how recycling might be applied to the art-making process. I collected discarded objects from tips, mechanics’ dumpsters, footpaths, op shops and garage sales. These were combined with wire, glue, thumbtacks, old light bulbs, cherished scraps of fabric, birthday candles, and pencils collected since childhood.
A sense of playfulness with the found objects brought to life a cast of characters who seem defiantly vivacious, despite their having been constructed from detritus.
The gathering of flotsam and jetsam together to form a whole ‘person’ became a sort of metaphor about how humans absorb and patch together the various events that occur along their journey from birth to death.
As each character evolved, so too did their life’s story—primarily in response to how they’d dealt with the joys and triumphs of life, as well as the slings and arrows.
Some characters seem to be smiling in the face of tragedy, having picked themselves up and dusted themselves off. Others seems to have succumbed to grief and sorrow, or are embroiled in red hot anger. A few seem naive or alienated—life’s little lost lambs. The lucky ones are floating high on a cloud of romance, temporarily suspended above the Earthly trials and tribulations that have caused others to crack.
Mister Gorgeous and Miss Beautiful
The Aliens – white
The Aliens – black
Juvenile Sabertooth Unicorn
Mildly Ferocious Lion
The operating table
Lost & Found
Created whilst living in NYC, this body of work looks at themes of community and belonging versus lonesomeness and lostness. Having left my beloved friends in warm-hearted country town Australia for life in a railroad apartment in Manhattan’s crowded Lower East Side, I experienced a growing sense of isolation and alienation. The Lower East Side had a history of being populated by waves of different immigrant groups – first Jews escaping persecution, then the Chinese, and at the time I was living there on the eve of 9/11, the strong Hispanic community was beginning to be dispersed due to a steady expansion of hipster bars and rising rents that only whities could afford.
Development saw the faded but still glorious old tenements, with their peeling paint whispering family histories, being demolished to pave way for soulless apartment blocks. I remember looking out my window one hot summer’s night to the sidewalk below and seeing piles of house contents being ejected form one such old home. The city’s poor and children alike were rooting through, looking for salvageable and/or saleable things. I rushed down to join the throng, pulling out lovely old goods like sewing kits from the nineteen-forties, menorah parts from what must have been the home of a Rabbi, broken bits from toys, speaker wires, old erasers, and suchlike – a veritable treasure trove for a found object sculptor.
In the city, with its ravishing appetite for consumerism and expansion, it never failed to surprise me: how could so many people co-exist so closely together, yet so many of its inhabitants feel so lonesome? And how did this relate to the flagrant divide between the wealthy and the poor?
One of the most poignant moments for me whilst living in my beloved Lower East Side was seeing an elderly Chinese man searching through a pile of rubbish. It broke a little piece off my heart, as I snapped my bourgeois camera to record the sight.