Sunday, March 31, 2013

My Junk Lifestyle: Lighting Up My Life

I have always had an artistic/creative "bend."

No, I am not totally bent totally out of shape...

 That is, I am no where near to the point of cutting my ear off like Vinny.

I've always enjoyed creating things from nothing. Not sure if that makes me an "ar-teest"?   A picker friend recently said that he considered my works to be in the line of "folk art."

So I am a Folk Artist

Maybe an Outsider Artist?

Years ago I had a girlfriend who had her Masters in Fine Arts. She had been told by one of her (respected) Profs that she was one of the few truly talented young artists in the program at the time.   I respected my girlfriend's opinion, and I remember her stating that she felt I was "very creative", but not an "artist."

Ok, that was a little disappointing, but not real bothersome.

However, after having spent time over the years thinking about, and eventually creating some of my "functional sculptures", I do feel somewhat entitled to call myself "an artist".

I say "functional sculptures" because I like the objects I create to do things beyond just "sit there."

Lamps, clocks, and other things that we use daily fall into that category.  If I were to build an "art car", for example, I want it to be truly functional....I don't want bits of it flying off when I hit highway speed....and not just because I can't afford a RCMP issued ticket for littering.

How else can you describe what I do with materials that were not found together, nor put together by someone else,  nor ever envisioned to be put together in that way, other than "art"?

Hey, I heard that! SOMEONE said "I call it junk!" 

Well, maybe to some it is "junk". 

I try to remember that I am in a business where SO many things are considered junk by someone....sometimes even the owner of that junk.  So, even if someone calls my creation "junk", though I might be offended a little, maybe very offended, even, I know that really is not the case in the big picture. It is "junk" in their eyes, sure. That is, IF that is why they have called it that in the first place. The statement may be based in something other than their actual thoughts of the item. So many other factors can be involved; like jealousy, mood, intelligence, narrow mindedness, and a million more possibilities and combinations of possibilities.

Sometimes it may be tough to locate that person, people, or crowd, who views those finds, creations, etc as "treasures" or "art", but they are out there.

Anyway, here is one of my recent creations, a desk lamp made from 100% reclaimed, repurposed, recycled components.

I realize that "upcycling" is all the rage these days, with various people undertaking this sort of work.  The thing is, it is far, far, far from being a new concept...not since human kind appeared on earth, really.

Pickers, antiques dealers, second hand dealers, and other folks in this business have been doing similar things for years, also.  

The fact is, sometimes you need to be creative to make a buck.  

Creativity in this business sometimes equals survival. 

That buck is what helps to pay the bills, after all.

Sometimes, though, that creativity goes beyond the call of duty. The lamps I have been creating of late tend to take more time than I can be paid for, really. If I were to consider all the time spent on the lamp above, for example, I'd have to charge $20000 for it.

It is one of a kind, a work of art, no?   

How do you place a dollar value on art?
Paying for "time" is what many people will try to take into consideration. When you tally up the true amount of "time" spent on this piece, it adds up fast. The minutes turn to hours, and the hours stack up rapidly when you consider the amount of thinking spent on the concept, finding each piece, storing those pieces, putting them together, taking them apart, modifying them, waiting for a certain piece to pop up that ties 2 pieces together, and on and on and on.

And what is my time truly worth? 

And does my "talent" for seeing something in a piece of  "junk" and bringing that "thing" out of the piece of junk worth anything?  

Who knows. I just want to enjoy making the things.  

But that does not pay the bills now, does it?

I probably could have simply slapped something together, and it might look darn similar to the lamp pictured above....and then even ask $150, $250, maybe $300 for it....and maybe even get it. 

"Upcycled" pieces, be it would.

(Hmmmmm. I seem to be channeling Yoda.....)

But is it art if there is no "soul" put into it? 

Philosophy....that is about all the debate is, really. 

Who knows where the line should be drawn, if it should be drawn at all.

Who knows what is "art" and what is not. 

Guess it is not for me to decide.  I shouldn't really care, when it comes down to it. 

We all should just enjoy creating.

Once it becomes "work", I think the "art" part falls by the wayside. If something becomes "work" (in my experience) then there is far, far, far less soul put into it.

Perhaps, without an artist putting a bit of their soul into a piece,  the less the piece can be truly considered art?



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