I'm not the Immortal Artist. You are

Immortal Artist is dedicated to exploring all aspects of experimental art and creating new and innovative techniques which other artists can use to strengthen their own work.


The blogs creator, experimental artist Grey Cross pursues and discusses art across a wide spectrum of artistic mediums. They include painting, sculpting, body art, digital art, and photography. With an emphasis on teaching artists to utilize today's social networks to further their own art and reputations.


This blog uses the Living Blog concept, an idea created by Grey Cross

Grey Cross Studios/Immortal Artist Operations

New Orleans

Email: greyacross@aol.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Junkman Cometh - Creating a New Art Technique From Unlikely Items



I have a number of people that often drop off items at the studio that I can use for both my own work and to use with my artist interns. One elderly fellow is a trash picker. Every few weeks he stops late in the night with a ramshackle pickup truck filled to overflowing and leaves me a care package of stuff he's found during his wanderings.

Often the items are in poor enough shape that I discard them. But there are some amazing gems every so often also. Anything in a can that isn't too rusted I put on a shelf. Spray paint, half used cans of varnish and the occasional "mystery" container get saved.

Now I've had this piece of driftwood I pulled out of the river a few weeks ago and let dry. Usually I would discard a piece like this because it was badly rotting and some of the parts of it were weak to the point of really not having much value as a piece of art. But this one had caught my eye because of its swirling patterns. It reminded me of a candle flame in its shape and pattern. So I brought it home and dried it out and tested it for strength. The results weren't good. The wood was quite fragile. So I set it aside on a work table and would glance at several times a day wondering how it could be saved and used. 

So last night I sat down with it again, my finger slowly tracing the patterns within it and I decided to try an experiment. What could I do that would keep the pattern of the wood yet create a solid bond around it? What if I gently polyurethaned the wood? Would that give it enough strength that it could be used? 

Sadly after several hours I gave up, realizing it was probably hopeless. The polyurethane was strong, but not that strong. I could go buy something stronger but that would take money and energy that were better used elsewhere at the moment. Then I decided to go look at the old junkmans shelf of bottles and cans and just see what was there. What did I have to lose? I was just going to end up tossing the fragile piece of wood otherwise. 

After some searching I found a can of something called Appliance Epoxy. What caught my eye was the can said "Smooth Factory-like Appearance. Ultra Hard Enamel". So I took it out on the porch and I tested it out to see if the cane even worked and got a nice smooth flow of this tar colored epoxy. Okay, so what the heck. Nothing lost nothing gained. I'm an experimental artist, so lets experiment. 

I laid the driftwood down and thoroughly coated the driftwood on both sides. I left it alone after that until this morning where to my delight the epoxy had coated the driftwood in a hard shell that left the grain of the wood in tact but had hardened the wood to a point where it was again solid and no longer fragile.

Since then I've resprayed it several times to make sure it had a solid coat on all sides. My intention will be to paint it using metallic orange and reds to create an eternal flame sculpture out of. 

So here is a new technique born totally out of a taking a chance on something different. I've often been frustrated at seeing beautiful patterns of wood that were too fragile to be usable. I may have just found a way to take advantage of that and create some amazing new art from it.

Thanks Faerie Junkfather. I shall ever be in your debt! 

Creatively,
~Grey~ 

UPDATE: Here is the final sculpture


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