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Grey Cross Studios
1920 4th St, New Orleans , LA 70113
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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Throw Away Art

New Orleans weather is brutal. Outdoor temperatures can be deadly for most of the summer months. As we have been building the new outdoor art space, it became apparent from the start that are that was displayed out there would either have to be built to handle the heat, or would have to be brought inside after each and every show. 

All of the art in the "evolution art" series was built for outdoor display. But that still left a lot of empty space to consider. 

Last year I built 5 huge sculptures that were the first works in the evolution art series. These were high rise buildings that towered five and six feet high. It was our original intention to display these pieces in the outdoor art space also. But during a freak accident, one morning around 6am all five sculptures came crashing down and were destroyed. This wasn't the fault of the sculptures. We think that one of the shelves they were sitting on gave way, sending all five sculptures sliding off the shelf to land on the ground in a pile of debris. 

Such is the luck of an artist sometimes! 

Rather than throwing away the debris, I piled them in a heap in the back yard. I hate to throw anything away. There were still usable pieces within the pile. 

Since I needed to fill some of the space with art that I wasn't worried about the weather eventually destroying, I decided to use this pile of dead sculptures and piece them together to make new art with. Thus came the concept of "throw away art". Art that by definition won't be mourned if it doesn't last.

Looking around I realized there were other pieces stored away that fit the same category. The piece at the top of the page actually has quite a story. The top portion with the face and hand came from another art experiment created when I first became an artist. This was called "cube art". It was formed from 6, one foot tiles formed into a cube and sealed with grout. The face and hand were on a cube that had broken and I had saved just that portion for future use. Years later, it the writing was added to it and the piece was used in one of the evolution sculpture, which also ended up being broken in the big accident. So I once again fished it out of the pile of debris. 

The bottom portion of the piece above is from a totally different sculpture. This was a row tomb created from styrofoam. It was a very early experimental piece when I was working on building tomb sculptures. Like everything else the row tomb was placed in storage. I would either re-use it or disassemble it. 

As fate had it, it was sitting on my work table when I brought in the face and hand piece. I realized I had a perfect fit to create a completely new sculpture out of the two pieces. The form created a perfect tombstone, so there was double meaning in both the larger tomb stone and the smaller row tombs beneath it. It fit. With a little ingenuity, the piece above was created. It was a perfect piece to be placed in the outdoor art space because there was little to be lost if something happened to it. 

The moral of the story. NEVER THROW ANYTHING AWAY! There is always a use or re-use for anything your hands and mind create. Never mourn the destruction of a piece of art. There is always something else you can create. 

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