I think I can guess your first question . . . Yes, I do cut myself, usually minor nicks, pokes and cuts. A small Band-Aid generally remedies this. I’m always on the lookout for bottle caps and tin cans and I have a large collection of both. Where do I get my material? Bottle caps from shops in town, eBay or trading with collectors, decorative tins come from second hand stores and food tins are purchased from shops in the inter-national districts of large cities. Friends and acquaintances also collect and give me tins and bottle caps.
I’ve been making works out of tin cans since 1991; the first piece being a 3D dragon head. I primarily worked in 3D then, creating patterns on paper and then transferring them to tin. Cutting, folding, rivets and slot and tab construction were methods I used. Bottle caps became a large part of my work in 2002 when I started making whistles. The plaques started shortly after that, 2D flat pieces created by cutting and nailing tin to wood.
My art work is about joy, play and reuse. Printed tin and bottle caps are joyous to me, with their color and glints of shine. Labels and advertising iconography are often brightly colored with simple words and images very much like children's educational toys. My work references childhood, as that was a time of the most play. Play is a time of being in the moment, no past or future worries, a time of joy. I’m attracted to reuse, too, because it requires creative thinking (play) to re-purpose something anew. I also reuse images for the challenge of recreating them in another medium.
On another level is the idea of 'Many Making the One'. When I look at my work, I first see the overall image; and the more I look, the more I see -- flattened and folded bottle caps, pieces of recognizable tin cans and words, found objects and nails. I believe everything is connected. Everything is a part of a something larger, that is then part of something larger still.For when we look close and see what the art work is made of and realize it is something we see everyday
Why are you an Artist? I am an artist because it makes me happy. I can not imagine myself not making things…well when I do imagine myself not creating, I am not happy. I am an artist because creating fills me with joy and elation.
Why is art important? Art stimulates my mind. It gives alternate meaning to things I see and interact with. Art is an expression of an individual, of the self. Art allows for a tangible express our emotions, such as happiness, love, sadness or grief.
Photograph by Chuck Moses ©2017
Tin Day of the Dead