Posts Tagged ‘tin can collage

08
Feb
15

The Kid Who Wanted X-ray Vision

As a kid growing up in Ohio, I spent a lot of time reading comic books. When I was not playing outside with my friends, I could usually be found on the living room rug, or the floor of my pup tent, lost in a comic book. It did not matter the theme. I enjoyed a variety of topics. Superman, Batman, Donald Duck, Lone Ranger, Richie Rich, Casper, anything but the romance stuff! The inside cover usually had ads for a variety of products, every thing from miniature cameras to a book on how to “throw your voice”. The item I most coveted was the X-ray Specs! Imagine, for the price of just one American dollar a kid could actually obtain X-ray vision!

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Sadly, I never had a whole dollar that I could send away for this wonderful item. Back then, I was lucky to have the dime to purchase the comic book itself. Yes, ten cents was a huge deal then. Had I dared ask my mother for a dollar to spend on such a superfluous piece of plastic, she would have thought I had totally lost my young mind. Reflecting back on those much-wanted Xray glasses was the inspiration for my latest artwork: Xray Vision!

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I started out with a 24″x36″primed wood panel and began a loose sketch using a black Sharpie. When working with “tin”, I tend to keep my foundation sketch very loose. I want the sketch to give me a sense of how I am going to use the space, yet loose enough that my composition is open to serendipity. I really wanted this piece to be about the glasses, so I was building my sketch around those glasses. Since the wearer’s face would play a supporting role, I filled my space by cropping the head and chin of the person.

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Using some black sheet metal, I cut the shape of the frames of the eye glasses. From there I began working on the lens. I remember the image of the Xray specs in the ad having a circle within a circle, as when one drops a stone into a pool of water. When I actually Googled the old advertisement, I saw it was not quite as I remembered. However, the specs did show energy and that is what I wanted.

 

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I began with a series of circles in white metal, but noticing a very colorful popcorn can in the studio I decided to change course. I cut two spirals from the flattened can and attached them to the eye glasses. Cutting the spirals was bit more challenging than I had predicted, but I felt good about the result.

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The most difficult part of the piece was now behind me, while the most time consuming work was about to begin. I began building the face and head using tin in a range of earth tones. I worked at giving the face some depth through subtle changes in color and value, while at the same time trying to keep the overall look a bit loose. It is also important to me to keep in the piece some of the typography and branding that is on the metal itself, but without it becoming too distracting. I struggle with that issue!

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Once the face and head were nearly complete, I began filling in the negative space, aka “the background”.  I needed the negative space to be dark enough to contrast with the face and head, and not so strong that it would take away from the eye glasses. This took a trial and error approach as I built the background using a variety of darker values and kept my tin palette primarily cool. As you will see in the finished piece, the background is built using a combination of retro branding and pop culture images from repurposed product containers.

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The finished piece ready to attach the hanging hardware! As a last minute addition, I added two small white metal elements to give the eye glasses some extra punch. Thanks for your interest in my work. Whatever YOUR media, go make some art!

 

 

 

19
Aug
14

Creating Bat Kid

Working out the mask.

Working out the mask.

I recently received a prospectus in the mail from a local art center. This prospectus is for an all-Halloween exhibit that sounded like too much fun for me to pass up. The deadline for submissions is the end of August, so if I was going to participate I needed to get moving.

When I was kid growing up in Toronto, Ohio, Halloween was a really big deal to me and my buddies. Over the years, I went trick or treating in a variety of costumes, some homemade and some store bought. One of my favorite comic book heroes was Batman, and while I never spent a single Halloween as the “caped crusader”, I knew right off that I wanted to create an image of a kid wearing a Batman mask.

A couple of weeks back I purchased a 46″x40″ oak framed blackboard at Rogers Flea Market in Ohio. The blackboard itself was not slate, but rather plywood painted flat black. This rascal is heavy, but I knew it was just right for building a tin piece on, and it was priced at only ten bucks! (A little added note: the back of the blackboard is stamped “Property of US Post Office 1966”.) I decided this would be the support I would use to create my “Bat Kid”.

I have included a slide show of how Bat Kid evolved. What you are looking at is about 24 hours work over a three day period. The weather cooperated and I was able to work on the entire piece on the brick patio outside of my studio. He is repurposed metal and nails, with the frame painted in blue enamel. And although we are not done with summer quite yet, let me be the first to wish you a Happy Halloween!

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06
Jul
14

Rogers is Bonkers on July 4th!

Selfie in the middle of the Rogers madness!

Selfie in the middle of the Rogers madness!

I had not planned to go back to Rogers only one week after my previous trip, but my son and a friend were interested in going. As sometimes happens, I ended up making the drive myself, all the time thinking I should be in the studio. However, Rogers was going gang busters and I did find tin and other materials.

Just a portion of the huge Rogers crowd.

Just a portion of the huge Rogers crowd.

I had never been to Rogers on July 4th, and what an experience! It seemed every dealer space was filled, and there were even dealers set up in grassy areas where I had never seen set-ups before. The people were shoulder to shoulder, and just walking at any more than a crawl was difficult. When you did see something you wanted to look at closer, you had to push your way in and push your way back out. Craziness!

A half dozen table into the flea market and this caught my eye.

A half dozen table into the flea market and this caught my eye.

The first thing I saw that brought me to a full stop was a West Virginia Centennial license plate topper. I looked at it, told myself I did not need it, and walked away. About 100 feet down the row I turned around, went back to the table where the WV piece was, and purchased it after a little haggeling. I knew this would not be going into any artwork, but something that would just look good on the wall.

If only all the cans were a buck!

If only all the cans were a buck!

I started finding a few tins here and there, some old, some new, but all with usable color or texture for future art pieces. Then I stumbled upon two plastic roosters in their original cartons! Oh joy! Now I think there is something funky about plastic roosters wearing their cardboard boxes. They were six bucks for the pair and ……drum roll please…… made in the USA!

What will my wife and I do with these critters? I have no idea. Coincidently, I am currently reading the book “Never Stop to Think….Do I Have a Place for This?”, by Mary Randolph Carter. This book is helping me realize that either I am not crazy, or that there are a lot of crazy people in the world just like me.

Two plastic Rocky-the-Roosters in my wagon! Ha!

Two plastic Rocky-the-Roosters in my wagon! Along with them are a few tins that will be going under the shear back at the studio.

Would you believe that while my wagon was parked in front of another dealer’s space that a woman tried to purchase them? The dealer almost seemed offended and quickly replied, “Mam, those are NOT mine!”. At another dealer’s space I was purchasing some metal and I came back to my wagon to see that one of my roosters were gone. Yes, GONE! I searched the ground quickly to see if it had fallen out. Then I notice a nearby six year old boy holding it and showing it to his mother in the hopes that she might buy it. I got my rooster back.

My regular breakfast stop at Rogers.

Now about this time I start getting hungry for breakfast and that means a stop at Paisano’s. If you read my blog with any regularity, you already know how much I like this pizza. It is the bomb! I lucked out, as it was fairly early and the line had not become too long yet. I got one slice to eat now and a slice to eat a while later. Oh yeah!

My mother taught me to always eat a proper breakfast while at the flea market!

My mother taught me to always eat a proper breakfast while at the flea market!

Deborah Butterfield knockoff?

Deborah Butterfield knockoff?

You just never know what you are going to see at the flea market. In this case, a kitschy version of a Deborah Butterfield horse. Please go to a museum and see a Butterfield piece FOR REAL!

The crowd grows bigger!

The crowd grows bigger!

I considered heading back to Wheeling after just a few hours because just getting through the crowd was getting difficult. It was actually becoming problematic to just get in and out of booths to look at things.

Waiting to be adopted.

Waiting to be adopted.

As I headed back to my truck I stopped to look at a few things, most of which I did not purchase. However, I did pick up a few highway signs from a dealer and these will find a new life back at the studio.

As I loaded the truck for the drive back home, I noticed this cute little trailer parked near by. Now, I was thinking, THAT is the way to visit flea markets!

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27
Jun
14

Got Art Materials? Rogers Does!

 

I always seem to feel bad for the deer who have ended up as hunting trophies.

I always seem to feel bad for the deer who have ended up as hunting trophies.

Lately it seems that the Fridays I had free to visit Rogers were filled with rain, and when it didn’t rain I had other obligations. Finally the stars and moon aligned and today was a Rogers day! I headed up early this morning, joined by friend and former student, Eric Price. As always, you just don’t know what is going to show at Rogers. Today was a particularly good day for metal and a particularly bad one for deer. Unless you wanted a deer head for hanging on your wall, then I suppose it would have been a very good day for you. I don’t quite understand the animal-parts-on-a-wall mentality. I don’t judge, but I do think it’s weird.

A life-size Barbie!

A life-size Barbie!

Not often do I run across a life-size Barbie doll. I guess I’ve NEVER seen a life-size Barbie until today! According to the present owner, our nearly six foot tall plastic friend was made for Bloomingdales back in 1984. Big Barbie was not priced, and I didn’t ask what the dealer was asking for her. In hindsight, I am a bit curious what the owner thought his Barbie was worth. Oh well!

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Lots of stuff look at today!

I was able to find several cans with good color or interesting patterns, along with a stack of what appear to be uncut Coca-Cola playing card box lids. Each one shows a woman from an old Coca-Cola ad. I am unsure how I will use them, but I am thinking they will make good patterns for backgrounds. We’ll see what happens.

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First load of “art materials” back to the truck. The aforementioned Coca-Cola uncut lids can be seen in front of the electric drill display board.

Now all this walking and looking and buying art materials causes one to work up an appetite. There is no better place to fill your belly at Rogers than at Paisano’s Pizza! I used to hear my dad use the term “paisano” when he would run into a friend back in Steubenville, Ohio. It means countryman or brother in Italian, and is the equivalent of “homie” to Italians and Italian-Americans. But I degres. I love pizza: the taste, the smell, the sight of a piping hot slice. Finding a good slice of pizza is not always easy, and finding good pizza at a flea market is almost unheard of. However, Paisano’s is the real deal!

Damn good pizza!

Damn good pizza!

I had to take a bite before I took this photo!

I had to take a bite before I took this photo!

Stomachs full, we get back to the job at hand: more walking and more looking at junk!

 

Artist Eric Price. You can check out Eric's work HERE.

Artist Eric Price, looking for anything that can be turned into a sculpture tool. You can check out Eric’s work HERE.

Dealer offering 1950s-60s magazines.

Dealer offering 1950s-60s magazines.

 

Instant relatives.

Instant relatives.

Yes, even more deer heads. Perhaps their spirits are trying to comfort one another.

Two more deer heads, appearing to be comforting one another.

Near noon the sun is strong and Rogers is heating up. Time to take the last load to the truck and call it a day. Until next time, stay junky my friend, and don’t forget that the flea market can also be your “art materials store!”

Last load of the morning.

Last load of the morning.

 

 

 

 

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02
May
14

Roger’s: A Sign of Spring

Morning at Rogers Flea Market

Morning at Rogers Flea Market

Most of you that know me, or at least know this blog, are aware that I love flea markets. I often say that “The flea market is my palette.”. The majority of my art work is comprised of repurposed lithographed metal and found objects, and I obtain most of these materials at the flea market. My favorite outdoor market is in Rogers, Ohio, about 90 minutes north of our home in WV. This past April 18th, my wife, Chris, and I headed to our first Rogers experience of the year. This is truly one of the signs that spring has arrived. We took two friends along with us, Nancy Tirone and Rebekah Karelis, both “Rogers virgins”.

Me, Chris, Bekah, and Nancy ready for our Rogers experience!

Me, Chris, Bekah, and Nancy ready for our Rogers experience!

To give you a little more info on Rogers, here is a blurb from their website:

A Friday visit to the Rogers Community Auction and Market is more than a buying spree. It’s a refreshing dip into rural Americana. Shoppers spill into the gravel walking paths between rail fences that guide shoppers through the maze of tables and between pavilions and barns.

Join the early morning walkers who measure their miles in the gravel aisles for exercise before they shop. The grounds open for business at 7:30 a.m. and vendors start setting up at least an hour before. Those who want to register for the afternoon auctions begin signing in at 7:30.

There is no admission charge and 70 acres of free parking is available. There is no dress code but good walking shoes are recommended if you plan to cover the entire three miles of aisles through the barns and outdoors. The 1,000 to 1,600 vendors, selling an A to Z conglomeration of goods, are randomly scattered so that there is a good variety in each aisle.

We had a fun day at Rogers, but that might be better said through the following photos!

 

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27
Feb
13

Tin Can Collage Workshop at Pocosin Arts

P1030807Pocosin Arts is dedicated to nurturing creativity through arts education.  Located a few steps from the banks of the Scuppernong River, the center is surrounded by water, wildlife and the natural beauty of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, making it an ideal place to leave your daily routine behind and immerse yourself in one of their creative workshops.  Pocosin Arts offers evening, weekend, one-day and one-week workshops in metals, clay, photography, drawing, painting, textiles and others.  Now in its 13th year, each February Pocosino Arts hosts a 4-day retreat, Cabin Fever Reliever, bringing artists from all over the country to teach workshops in all media.  Pocosin Arts also offers artist residencies that are tailored to the needs of individual artists. In February 2012 I was invited by Pocosin Arts Program Director, Marlene True, to teach a tin can collage class at Cabin Fever Reliever 2013. My wife, Chris, agreed to be my assistant and make the drive to North Carolina. Our experience was wonderful and it was such a pleasure to make so many new artist friends.

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Chris and I enjoying a cool sunny morning before classes begin.

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This shear was provided for our class and I liked it. A bunch.

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21
Jan
13

Tin Can Workshop for Kids

This past weekend I taught a tin can workshop for kids at the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh. These young artists spent two days cutting and pounding their way through a pile of metal product containers, as well as going through a stack of band-aids. A couple of SCC staff members got involved in building a tin collage as well. Check out the photos showing the process and the results.

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