It was 1993 when I picked up a TIG torch, struck an arc, and produced my first weld puddle (oddly enough it was titanium). Since then I have been on a relentless mission to transmogrify and personify spark plugs, circuit breaker boxes, reamer blades, irons, bolt-cutters, and typewriters. I love to help the little creatures I inherently see in objects to come out into the world. Stainless steel bicycle spokes melt into skulls one drop at a time. Saw blades are reinvented into angelic wings, tin cans devolve into rose pedals, and a broken clarinet gets a second exciting life as a pirate blunderbuss.
photo credit: LD-50
Welding art can be so much fun that at times it’s practically intoxicating to me. No outdated or discarded mechanical devices within in my grasp are safe from joining the parade of fantastic creatures, mighty rayguns, and emotional robots, some of which tip the scales at over 300 pounds. And when I am lucky enough to glimpse a smile from someone who first sees one of my pieces, it reminds me of the smile I had when I completed the piece. I feel a real connection through my art; like I’m connected to humanity.
I have always been drawn to strange and imaginative creatures due to a love of folklore and mythology, and have been drawing them since I can remember. It is through these beings that I feel I can convey and explore the sense of alienation and disconnection that I feel is growing in modern society. These “monsters” represent a fractured and warped sense of self that I believe we have all experienced or are encouraged to experience, in an attempt to attain the perfect body, or the perfect face. I have always felt a sort of sympathy towards the beasts of myth and legend, and have found that many people feel the same way. Perhaps it is the purity of these creatures that can be so attractive rather than the physical imperfections. Moreover, their actions though seemingly sinister or mysterious, cannot always be considered evil or calculating. Where they live is a kind of ghost world where betrayals often lead to redemption. There is also an appreciation and an awe of Nature that influences my work, specifically in the designs of characters. Tree branches become antlers, root vegetables walk and talk, and the animal world is king.
photo credit: Beth Driscoll
In my current work, I have been using pencils and graphite to render my subjects. The act of physically digging into the wood with pencils, scratching out sections of graphite with the aid of an Xacto knife and sandpaper, result in a finished piece that is worn and textural, with the images somewhat “etched” into the wood. My backgrounds are heavily textured layers of Gesso and paint, with the occasional odd bit of found paper or tape.