I have been fascinated by machinery as long as I can remember. Usually this fascination involved taking it apart.
Some time ago, just before organic life started, there must have been an oversupply of energy, reactive gases, organic molecules. Just think of them, lying around in piles, looking untidy, smelling the place up. There was no two ways about it, something had to be done. So life began, as a means of resolving the tension.
Now there is an oversupply of another kind. Broken appliances, last year’s must-have techno-toys, worn-out machinery, the general detritus of a million sheds and garages. Old uncle John dies, and the relatives have no idea what his lifetime’s collection of junk in the shed is even called, let alone what it is used for. So out it goes, just a step away from landfill, the ultimate degradation, or to be melted down to make a new piece of consumerist rubbish, almost as bad. I see it as my my mission to save some of this junk, to collect it and place it carefully in a place where the natural processes can begin again, and it can begin to reorganise.
I don’t design anything, the design happens when I pick things up, sometimes ideas just pop into my head, or (disturbingly to some) I dream them. Then I have to record them into a notebook that I carry everywhere. Part of the design process is to “unlearn” the true function of a part, so that you can see the face in what is really a shovel blade, or an angry cat’s arched back & legs in a bicycle mudguard. I seem to make a lot of cats, even though I don’t like them at all. Very Strange.
There is a Lord Dunsany story “Blagdaross” (in A Dreamer’s Tales, available online) about the conversation between some rubbish which meets on the junk pile. The rope remembers that it used to tie a load on a ship, that it once hanged a man, and now it awaits dissolution. The broken toy horse refuses to concede, and cries “Once I was Bucephalus”, and exults when a boy mounts it again to go forth again into battle….
Oddly enough I rarely make abstract pieces, my work is strongly figurative, in common with a lot of other scrap artists. Also in common with them I seem to favour certain tropes, faces, humanoid figures, trophy heads, wheeled vehicles, birds, fish.