I do not use Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) or Computer Aided Design (CAD) equipment to design or create my work. All of my pieces are designed with paper and pencil. I cut, form, bend, machine, etc. with manually controlled tools – many of them older than I am. All of my detailed sheet metal work is cut on an old Bett-Marr sheet metal band saw. Script words are cut from a single piece of vintage material. My work is fastened together with very small screws or rivets. I like the aesthetic, and the challenge of fastening using mechanical fasteners. Occasionally I’ll weld a bracket or support, if it isn’t visible on the work, and I never use glue.
I use weathered materials because I love them. Scratches, dents, faded paint, and rust tell a story, and document the passage of time.
I have spent a good deal of time fixing up faded, rusty old trucks and machines. There would inevitably come a time when some of them weren’t worth fixing any more, but I felt they still had a presence and a soul. It was sad to haul them to the scrap yard. Now, I use art to preserve the memory of some of these forgotten things, even if only in small pieces.
My primary material is vintage automobile body panels. I also use appliance skins, signs, and other bits if they catch my interest. The colors are as I obtained them. I collect materials from auto wrecking yards, metal scrap yards, side of the road, and anywhere else an opportunity presents itself. I’ve been collecting metal materials for over a decade, and small objects for most of my life. Emblems and badges from bygone automobiles, appliances, and machinery are of particular interest to me. I like their message, detail, typography, and thought for design.
I don’t view my art as repurposing or recycling. I am more interested in preserving the material as a representation of what it was. In the farming community where I grew up, folks didn’t repurpose something because they thought it was cool, they did it because it was what they had. Inadvertently, something wonderful was created by cobbling together pieces that did not necessarily belong together. I try to emulate that concept during the production of my pieces.
I am known for my maps, and I make other pieces such as shadow boxes, signs, and abstract forms. Sometimes a piece of material tells me what it wants to be and I go from there.
I like maps as an art form as they quickly give the viewer a sense of place. The material used for each state, or region, is different. I let shape, contrast, and colors of materials drive my choices. Occasionally, I find a piece of material that specifically represents a state or region, and I’ll use it there. Given the materials I use, no piece is the same.
Thank you for taking the time to view my work. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoy making them.