“I started as a furniture-maker, but eventually felt limited by conventional notions about what furniture was supposed to look like and how it should be built. I now approach my work fundamentally as sculpture, but likewise have resisted passing over the line into pure or nonfunctional form.” – Michael Coffey
According to Michael Coffey, design is not just about art. It’s also a form of “problem solving.” He sees commissions as creative collaboration– loving most when patrons desire something entirely new, more different than his previous work.
As far as process is concerned, Coffey begins with a small wooden model, then develops a design on paper with set dimensions. First cuts generally begin with the buzz of a chainsaw, followed by the use of smaller, more refined, cutters and discs. Part of the fun is figuring out which tools will service the work best. Click on the video after the jump to see more of his work and philosophy.
These amazing sculptures of swallows are the work of artist Jeremy Mayer. Like his other sculptures, the swallows are entirely composed of parts taken out of typewriters. Mayer doesn’t even use glue or soldering to keep his swallows together. He says of his art and process:
“I’m very interested in assembly, particularly in nature. I pay very close attention to the strong current in science and technology flowing inexorably toward an emulation of natural systems.” [via]
These sculptures by artist James Capper are working hydraulic implements. Their primary colors, spare design, and steel build make the pieces out to be purely utilitarian construction tools. However, these aren’t actual power tools and they don’t necessary build anything. Instead they sit menacingly with feeling like of the premonition of violence. You can almost hear the hiss and huff of air powering the blades. Perhaps the tools are a hint at the violence implicit in production and progress.
Canberra, Australia based artist Jacqueline Bradley creates artwork that is perhaps best described as dreamy – sleepily strange. Her sculptural work is squarely based on familiar objects that recall a house and the home life inside. Yarn, glasses, dinnerware all seem to diverge subtly but perceptibly from normal use. In this way the sculptures seem more like playful memories of objects than the actual objects themselves. Bradley’s work explores the home as a place and the way people engage with it.
Artist and illustrator Kevin LCK seems to stick to illustrating, even when crafting work in three dimensions. Like his illustrative work, the sculptures are in spare black and white and made using paper. His Object series consists of a number of electronic appliances, such as a computer, microwave oven, and a television set. Inside each appliance is a carefully crafted home setting. Explaining the thought behind the series Kevin says:
“I seeked to detach the audience from the real world temporarily, provide them with a space to rethink and reconsider the way we behave and think about the relationship between ourselves, objects and environment with technology in a more conscious way.”
Suellen Parker builds each character from unforgettable moments of strangers or friends. First, she starts with sculpting the shape from plastiline clay before photographing it with a blank backdrop. Then, simultaneously, she scavengers for props, walls, or environments that might suit a certain character well and shoots those too. All of these images are finally loaded into a computer, where the art of merging and manipulation occurs. Skin tones are “digitally painted” and human faces technologically blend with clay while backgrounds stitch together to create a new imaginative world.
Of Letting Go, her most recent series collected here, Parker strives to twist not only mediums, but also gender roles. She suggests her characters concretely and conceptually have a fine blend of both, and states, they “are attempting to find a sacred space, a place of vulnerability, a place where they allow themselves to be really seen. By quieting one’s life, even momentarily, an opportunity is presented to learn truths about oneself. By engaging in private play, one is able to let go of expectations and rules. The result is a private and truthful moment that may be enjoyed without fear of judgment or consequence.”
Artist Anastassia Elias is perhaps best known for a a simple but intricate style of artwork. She creates tiny dioramas inside toilet paper rolls that come to life upon shining a light through it. Elias delicately cuts each scene from paper and places it inside the roll. Though each diorama contains a great amount of detail, Elias has been able to create an extensive amount of work in the series. In fact, she recently released a book documenting her paper roll work between 2009 and 2012. [via]
The work of Yinka Shonibare, MBE is filled with the complexity and ambiguity that make art endlessly exciting. Born in London, Shonibare moved to Nigeria when he was three years old and later returned to London to attend college. In a way, his work reflects this personal dynamic between Europe and Africa. However, Shonibare’s work makes it clear that his scope is much larger than that. He skillfully blends traditional textiles, costume, and symbolism from various European and African cultures and times. Through his distinctive work, Shonibare has a way of exploring issues of colonialism in an increasingly shrinking world without taking away any of its complexity. Thus, his work doesn’t inspire political reactionism, but rather sincere thought and deep consideration.