Condemned, decaying buildings are an eyesore to most people. When I look at them I see the story of a place and the people who’s lives it took part in. I feel it’s history. I see potential in what it could be now. I see the beauty in the breakdown.
In Searching out abandoned modern day ruins, I look for interesting and unique structures.
Opportunities to reach creatively, letting my imagination run free, and playfully turn decay into art that’s integrated into the existing landscape. One’s imagination is a playground of boundless adventures. I try to bring those adventures to life. Often describing this work using the analogy, “I’m like a kid imagining things in the clouds, only I imagine things in concrete and then bring them to life”. Behind the art that I create at these forgotten relics of the industrial revolution, is creating for creativity’s sake, while commenting on issues important to me.
Conceptually this project germinated 3 years ago on a painting expedition to the site (lime, Oregon). I came across a maze of giant broken concrete monoliths staggered about the grounds at this abandoned concrete plant. The shapes of them with the tops crumbling away was a visually arresting site. As I walked thru them and took them in, the thought came to me that they resembled giant concrete handbags. As I left that day I couldn’t shake the images of these things dressed up as designer bags from my head. To see them crumbling with the passage of time returning to the earth as a dust, the metaphor was too strong to disregard.
As much as I want to create beautiful affirming art, there is a need or as I think of it an obligation as an artist to use your voice to say something with your work. This duality within me is really where the idea took shape in my mind.
The “thrashbird’s Valley of Secret Values” project is part cautionary tale, part beautification project, and very introspective for me personally. It highlights my own personal struggle with ego and grandiosity, hence the scale of it. We grapple for status and purpose in society. Consuming possessions to showcase how successful we are and fill us with purpose, with complete disregard for the people and the planet affected by our careless over consumption of ephemeral consumer goods. Our measure of success has been skewed. We have come to a place in society where things and social status have become more important than our connection to each other.
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