I use assemblage because of the languages that the methodology affords. Found objects have their own original associations and purposes. By combining found or built objects the associations and contexts interact with other found or built objects to form metaphors of different psychological states which can convey meaning that neither of the objects held initially.
Terracotta and mortar
Choosing to avoid responsibility is easy and comfortable but not without consequence. Whether it be staying in bed and purposefully missing class or turning a blind eye towards responsibility, comfort is inherent in both. Procrastination is an example of this type of comfort and consequently, becoming complacent in this behavior can act as inertia to one’s life. Brick Pillow represents this mindset in a tongue and cheek way.
Reliquary of Responsibility
There is no grand reward for taking personal responsibility except for the knowledge that you have spared yourself or in some cases someone else from dealing with the aftermath of the opposite; this is maturity. The viewer is challenged to analyze the overarching idea that surrounds this absurdity, specifically, how complacency plays a role in domestic enablement and to arrive at the conclusion that encouraging such behavior creates a burden on society. The archived sandwich is a symbol of the celebration of meeting minimal expectations as a functioning adult.
Butt In The Baby Carriage
Butt in the Baby Carriage displays the mindset of comfortably accepting disengagement of personal responsibility. Packing tape is utilized because it is a material which collapses under pressure easily, is transparent, and sticks to everything. In combination with the figuration, it displays a mess that someone must deal with thus becoming a burden on the collective.
Sacrifice with a shot of "Expresso"
We have become accustomed to instant gratification to such a degree that it has become an expectation. It is as an unfortunate byproduct of innovation that may worsen with a continued lack of self-control. We all seek advantage and have come to expect situations to follow our timetables. A coffee shop is a familiar reminder of this attitude and behavior. This behavior is self-defeating and silly in a world of variables out of our control. With this piece, our selfish battle is combined with patience to a tangible relic of physical sacrifice, the purple heart: a medal awarded to those that have been wounded in combat.
The one-way sign in it's original, undamaged form stands for the order enforced by our acceptance of better judgment. The fact that the sign says "one way" implies conformity and compliance. We, as Americans, accept the idea that the city that put this sign in place did so for our safety. The damaged sign is an artifact of a consequence of destructive action. This sculpture relates the one-way sign to hedonistic choice making by implying that someone chose to go their “one way” as opposed to the prescribed one way which resulted in self-destructive action.
Penny for Your Thoughts
Penny ( 3’x3’x2” )
Penny for your thoughts addresses the situation where the need for money devolves into the obsession for it. The wooden surface of the penny remains visible to convey low value. The scale of the penny has been increased to approximately three feet in diameter to suggest the self-centered concern found in our culture of valuing the lower things in life above the unarguably more precious. The sculpture also spins taking up more space than it would if it was mounted flat against the wall, this also reinforces the notion of psychic space.
Penny for Your Thoughts (Tails Side)
Promised Land expands on this idea of unhealthy expectations by displaying little bear containers full of honey and glass bottles full of milk inside of a gumball machine. Paradise or happiness for a 25 cents seems too good to be true and that is exactly what the piece is saying. Expedient happiness is unobtainable; figuratively and literally in the sculpture. The milk and honey are too big to go down the chute. Promised Land, the land of milk and honey, takes its name from the biblical story of the Israelites’ journey from Egypt to Canaan.
I've still got time
Participation Trophy comments on the painful reality that not all effort leads to expected success as well as the danger of blindly accepting the status quo and not considering future consequences. I want the viewer to know we should encourage success but not expect it freely and that we should continually evaluate the situations around awarded success. Most of us can remember playing on a team at some point in our lives, one team won and the other lost. I have perceived a shift, particularly in youth sports, from one team being declared the losing side to everybody being a winner. This can be a self destructive course of action because it changes perception of what it takes to succeed. If there are free handouts and equal outcome no matter what, then why try?
17.5" x 11.5" x 9.25"
Schadenfreude conveys the disturbing dilemma surrounding our pleased reactions to others' misfortune. The piece evokes an unexpected, non-lethal punch erupting from a first aid kit filled with bandages. The behavior of taking pleasure in another person's misfortune has become normalized in comedy and domestic life in our culture. Most can recall a moment when the words "I told you so" were added to a conversation only to add insult to injury. We engage in taking pleasure in others non-lethal or short-term, usually psychic, pain because it makes us feel better psychologically but the action is harmful to those exposed.
The disembodied male jacket on display is an invitation to act upon reckless, macho inhibitions. The payoff of such actions and behaviors range from selfish to altruistic. One’s goal may be to get an adrenaline high, recognition on social media, or bragging rights; all short-term pleasures that result from selfish behavior. Conversely, the altruistic individual is the one who stays to defend or rescue others in the face of harm such as firefighters or a father protecting his family from a bear at a campsite.
Get Over Yourself
We tend to compare ourselves to others which implies a hierarchical viewpoint of being above or below someone else in the collective. Thinking you are intrinsically better than someone else is inhumane; time would be better spent swallowing one's pride and contributing to the community because whether we realize it or not the collective affects each of us. In American society, it is impossible to be completely self-sufficient.
Get over yourself (detail)
Get Over Yourself (Detail 2)
Approx 2’6”x 2’ x 1’
Frybox conveys the inescapable association with fries from fast food chains. Many Americans continue to indulge in things such as French-fries even though they are bad for us in the long-term. This is one of the dangers of being addicted to pleasure: indulging despite your better judgment. The scale of the fry box I have created is reflective of the desire for this pleasure. The expanded steel mesh over the top of the fry box is symbolic of our better judgment and the silver button on the front face of the box symbolizes our potential follow through with our temptation. If the button is pushed the box ejects all the "fries" contained inside.
Blue Light Special
40.75" x 31.375" x 13.5"
Blue Light Special is about the inability to be content. This idea is conveyed by the multitude of cords and outlets. This attitude can lead to innovation, but left unchecked it becomes obsessive. We as Americans are consumers and it is hard to argue against the fact that many of us have more than we need and that our desire for more runs rampant. The three-prong cords speak of our anxiety-induced, drive to obtain more by their numbers as well as their tangled disposition. The blue light in the center of the piece is a metaphor of the human pleasure center in the brain as we have become addicted to pleasure and constantly must increase our consumption to meet higher tolerance levels.
Gask Mask and Bronze
approx.14.5” X 20” X 8.5”
The Fool conveys a gas mask suspended in space by a flexible rubber tube screwed into the face of the mask. The tubing falls in a spiral until the end meets the back end of a miniature bronze horse which is welded to a 4”x12” plate of bronze. The gas mask acts as an invitation because it is empty and elevated in space making it easier for one to wear the mask. A gas mask is used to protect one from harmful agents in the air and is usually attached to a filter. In the sculpture, the filter has been replaced with the back side of a horse to imply that one is breathing excrement, a metaphor for poor ideas and irrational thinking. Consequently, the logic of the mask has been turned on its head to convey that the one who wears this specific device finds sound reason and council toxic as a result of their self-absorbed and complacent mode of being.
Wood, Paper, Foam, Plastic, and Found Objects. 8.625”x12”x10”. 2018.
The piece conveys the different moral checks and balances one must defy to reach a mindset to take innocent life. These checks and balances are symbolized by the lights, which mimic brake lights which imply stopping. The second set of checks and balances are the two lockable latches on the front. Not only does one have to choose to open the latches, but they also must unlock both. The final checks and balances are the sticks of dynamite. One would need first to remove them from their case and then decide to light them. Once the fuse is lit, one nearing the point of no return. The takeaway is for us to be mindful of explosive personalities, to take them seriously, and know that there could be life-threatening consequences to selfishness run amuck.
Hook, Line, and Sinker
Plastic, Tin, Welded Steel, Sand, and Found Objects. Dimensions Variable. 2018.
Hook, Line, and Sinker implies long-term consequence for engaging with, selfish, impulsive decision making. Hanging from the line on barrel swivels are credit cards that have been painted silver to imitate metal fishing lures. There is no bait on the hook; it is this detail that implicates the viewer. Everyone has a vice; the viewer is left with the ambiguity of bait that challenges them to consider what his or her snares are in life.
I Am My Inbox
Our unrealistic expectations of others can lead to one being selfish in spite of one’s self. I Am My Inbox illustrates this as a 24”x15”x11” white mailbox with safety orange padding and straps emanating from the flat back of the mailbox making it wearable like a backpack. Though wearable, the straps are positioned in a way that makes it difficult to put on without effort. The intention is that this is a willful burden that wearer chooses to bare. Similarly to invest your self worth solely into the adulation of others is willful and selfish act that can only be burdensome. The close observer may noticed a raised word under the white paint on one side of the mailbox that reads “BROWN”. This was left from the Musical You’re a good man Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown is a character who, for a time, invested his self worth into how many valentines he received.
Es me Fiesta
Wood, Green Turf, Ribbon, Rope, Sticks, Leaves, Handmade paper, and Hornet. Approx 7’x5’x3’. 2017.
Es Me Fiesta depicts a cobbled together pinata rig with one sinister twist, the pinata is a hornets’ nest with the contours of a traditional pinata. The hornet hides out under the belly of the pinata. The piece challenges the viewer’s desire to insight mayhem for personal gain.
Veneer of Familiarity
Mouse Trap and Blue Flocking
Familiarity is what makes the extremes of complacency and selfishness comfortable and tolerable. However, familiarity is just a veneer and the danger of such behaviors is still present. Veneer of Familiarity coveys this idea as threatening, domestic objects that are covered with a thin layer of blue flocking microfiber. The objects now have an increased level of appeal that invite the viewer to touch them in spite of the inherent danger.
Fiberglass, glow in the dark paint.
Labyrinth Helmet (Side view)
Fiberglass. glow in the dark paint
Fiberglass, glow in the dark paint.
Labyrinth Torso (Side View)
Fiberglass, glow in the dark paint.
Labyrinth Boot (Side view)
Fiberglass, Glow in the dark paint
Stage Based Work
I have been a project manager for many theatre shows. Projects include building giant creatures to designing sets. Often this was a group effort. I was head of design.
Tin Man Costume-2013-Fiberglass
Audrey II (Largest) Fiberglass
Audrey II was a huge undertaking and my first attempt with fiberglass. I managed a team of students and the final result was so much fun.
Set for Seaussical The Musical
The set I designed inspired by Dr. Seuss.
The Nursery in "Peter Pan", 2016
Julian Foley and Frank Thomas
Jesse Auditorium University of MO.
Photography Brett Johnson
Pirate Ship from Peter Pan 2016
Designed and built by Julian Foley and Frank Thomas.
Picture by Brett Johnson
Lost "kids" hideout Peter Pan 2016
Designed and built by Julian Foley and Frank Thomas.