A little about my unorthodox materials

Coming from a long line of collectors, I appreciate the seemingly meaningless, dirty, and broken objects left in my ancestors’ wake. When I find a particularly banal piece of ephemera, I always wonder, Why did they keep this? Was it just how they were feeling that day, pure laziness in avoiding the task of sorting, or something more?

Our farm is filled with delightfully strange notes, magazines, books, and thingamajigs. The artist in me sees potential in almost all of it. I try very hard to be selective and unsentimental when winnowing down the stacks of 1970s junk mail, 1920s short hand tutorials, and endlessly random notes attached to old packages of seeds, screws, and whatever else I stumble upon.

This compulsion to never throw anything out is clearly a family trait. Without realizing it at first, I believe this is one reason I started calling around to sign companies looking for scraps when I was just beginning my artistic endeavors. I was taught to be “green” before it was a trend and frugal before I even had a bank account. If I could help fulfill this material’s potential (in my case, street sign vinyl) and clear out a space for a local business, while also getting a price break…well, seemed like a winning combination.

So between my own personal hoard of vinyl and many old and unusual images and textures I find on my picking expeditions through Grandpa Bill’s sheds, I try to mix the old and new, past and future, plain and potent, flat and dimensional. These objects were saved for one reason or another, and if I can learn more about and honor the memory of the family members who came before me in the process, all the better. And now, I have the fortune to share that with my viewers, and for that, I thank you.

Street sign vinyl on metal, paper or wood

Much of the vinyl I use is repurposed and saved from the garbage thanks to very generous local sign-makers who let me rifle through their discarded scraps. Because they are scraps, the colors and sizes vary, therefore dictating my design parameters. By experimenting with different color combinations I have the opportunity to push the boundaries of my “comfortable” design elements, coming up with unique and fabulous designs you’ll never see anywhere else.

Much of my wall art is on street sign aluminum blanks that I have fabricated in my hometown. The company I work with is very flexible and allows me to choose the dimensions of my signs.  I keep the corners rounded as a nod to the original intent of signage.

Throughout my artistic endeavors, my wall art has evolved to include vintage and found papers, copies of old fabrics, and scrap wood with vinyl graphics. It is both exciting and daunting to have so many elements at my disposal.  As you look through my galleries, I have several lines of work incorporating some or all of these components.  In 2017 I started focusing primarily on using aluminum, adding may layers of paint, and topping it with vinyl to create the Orzo Series.