Jul 19, 2011

Recycling for Arts' sake Project

Last month we lost the great Peter Falk. Better known to most of us as the cigar smoking, dishevelled looking, seemingly absent-minded, consistently underestimated and overly polite  Lt. Columbo.

Because of this I'd like to share my favourite Columbo scene.

I love this scene because it does more than say art is subjective but goes on to prove that there is much truth in the idiom "one man's meat is another man's poison" or more appropriately in this case, "one man's trash is another man's modern art". Usually when the words 'recycled' and 'art' appear in the same sentence the image that immediately springs  to mind is that of children huddled around a low table, their tiny hands covered in poster paint while surrounded by a tower of toilet roll tubes and empty yogurt pots.

The more traditional artist might adopt a variety of mediums and surfaces to work with.
Oils, acrylics, watercolours, charcoal, pastels, wax and ink on either canvas, card, wood, plaster, metal, glass, stone or cloth all with the aid of a brush, palette knife, lino cuts, aerosol can, stencil or even ink-jet printer.

Some might simply use paper and pencil.

Then there is Dalton Ghetti.

Image: Dalton Ghetti

Dalton has created miniature masterpieces on the tips of pencils.

The 49 year old said: “At school I would carve a friend’s name into the wood of a pencil and then give it to them as a present. Later, when I got into sculpture, I would make these huge pieces from things like wood, but decided I wanted to challenge myself by trying to make things as small as possible. I experimented sculpting with different materials, such as chalk, but one day I had an eureka moment and decided to carve into the graphite of a pencil”

Image: Dalton Ghetti
Dalton uses three basic tools to make his incredible creations – a razor blade, sewing needle and sculpting knife. He even refuses to use a magnifying glass and has never sold any of his work, only given it away to friends.
Image: Dalton Ghetti

The longest Dalton has spent on one piece was two and half years on a pencil with interlinking chains. A standard figure will take several months. He said: “The interlinking chains took the most effort and I was really pleased with it because it’s so intricate people think it must be two pencils”

Image: Dalton Ghetti

When Dalton, from Connecticut, USA, first started he would become frustrated when a piece would break before being finished after he had spent months working on it. He said: “It would drive me mad when I would be just a bit too heavy handed and the pencil’s tip would break. I would get very nervous sometimes, particularly when the piece was almost finished, and then I would make a mistake. I decided to change the way I thought about the work – when I started a new piece my attitude would be ‘well this will break eventually but let’s see how far I get. It helped me break fewer pencils, and although I still do break them, it’s not as often”

Dalton, who is originally from Brazil, has a box full of more than 100 sculptures that have broken while working on them that he affectionately calls ‘the cemetery collection’. He said: “I have quite a few broken pieces so I decided to glue them on pins and into Styrofoam for a display case. People might think it’s weird I keep them but they’re still interesting. I worked on them for months so they might be dead now but at one point I gave them life”

Image: Dalton Ghetti

Here is a small collection of some more astonishing work from Dalton.

Image: Dalton Ghetti
Image: Dalton Ghetti

Just one more thing...........

What about all those pencil shavings?

Well, there's art for that too. Check out Kyle Bean a British based designer who saves all his pencil shavings to create stunning portraits.

Image: Kyle Bean

The 24 year old self employed artist has said "I often use everyday or waste materials in much of my work. My philosophy is that images can be made from anything and why throw away waste when it can be put to some good."

More on Kyle at a later date.........

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