Assemblage is a grown up word which gives adults the permission to play, fantasize and dream like kids. It gives us the permission to turn out fantasies into reality. Assemblage is the ability to take objects which have no value or sentimental attachment and breath life, a new identity and love into them. Transforming them into something new. I have always day dreamed and imagined wonderful and strange creatures. Being the youngest child with an age gap of eight years between my brother and myself, I was always playing by myself. I could usually be found underneath the house which had a crawl space (That was until I found the secret cubby) of about a metre, playing with my matchbox cars, plastic farm animals and my spaceship lego. Dreaming up far off lands with magical portals joining our two worlds together. I remember there was this old tin shed on some vacant land next door to our place and it was all locked up. Now, to a kid this was the perfect secret cubby house. I remember finding a loose panel at the back where a couple of the nails had rusted away, so I pulled the tin back like bark from a tree just enough to squeeze myself inside. Well, on entering it was like being transported into another world. It was filled with old furniture, wooden chests, old seats, a couple of bikes, several huge towering cupboards, stacks of old books, photo albums, and boxes of keys. It was all so dusty and there were small holes in the roof where the light streamed down to cast little spotlights on the floor. As I moved around, the dust would swirl through the light creating an almost laser show. I soon claimed this old shed as my secret place and I would always go there and play for hours, although I was not alone because I soon found I had many visitors. There were mice and lizards which would come in out of the scorching heat and of course there had to be snakes. It is scary thinking about it now but where I lived there were dangerous and poisonous snakes, brown snakes, taipans, copperheads, and they lived all around us. I remember once pulling up a piece of tin laying in the backyard and underneath was a copperhead snake curled up. And although I never saw any snakes inside my secret cubby, I would often see the tracks carved into the dirt floor of their visit. But being a kid you were invincible and I wasn't phased in the slightest.
Thinking about it now, that old locked shed must have housed someone's loved ones belongings, which after they died they didn't know what to do with it all, so they dumped it in one of their sheds to sort out at a later date. I claimed that shed as my own secret place for about a year and then one day some people arrived, cleared it all out and tore down the shed. It was sad but we were getting ready to move house so I knew at some point I wouldn't be back.
How I got started
I can't even remember exactly how it came about, but I remember collecting a lot of sardine cans for some odd reason. I don't know about you, but I go through phases where I will eat something everyday for breakfast or lunch until I am sick of it. Well, I was going through a sardines on toast phase and I must have consumed around 100 tins of the stuff. I only stopped because I started getting a liking for earth worms, LOL, NOT. I started keeping the tins because as an artist you often think that things will come in handy at some point, I mean I could always use them for paint containers regardless. See there is always a reason to keep stuff! So I remember coming across one artist who's work really captured my childhood imagination and that was Michael deMeng. His work immediately returned me to being that kid sitting under the house in the cool of the dirt floor (while outside it was 35 degrees, 95F,) playing with weird found bits and pieces. Seeing this fully grown adult playing and creating mystical and magical creatures and objects gave me the permission to begin my own journey into assemblage. So I am grateful to Michael for that!
My First Sardine Can Shrine - The Goddess
Like a bower bird, I collect bits of junk and discarded objects. Well, one day while walking around the farm I came across an old broken iron fireplace. It was very ornate and patterned with flowers and leaves. I took a sledge hammer and further broke it up into small handle-able sized pieces. One piece was destined to become the body for the goddess.
Ass-em-bell-age Slide show Gallery
If you see something you like, I am always open for commissions!