Found art is my thing. Raised in New York City, the streets offered a wealth of materials with which to work. It was one of the ways that I got to know the city so well. I was able to better understand different areas based upon what ended up on the street come trash day. With this in mind, and observing the sheer quantities of raw material (read: other people's trash) by the sides of the roads, I decided that the best way for me to understand my neighborhood in Trinidad, would be to see what the people that lived around me decided to toss over their fences and drop out their car windows.
There is little quite so rewarding as finding a promising object. Each piece I collect is one brush stroke that will later be placed in my 3-dimensional canvas, so the quality of each individual part is vital to the quality of the whole. With that in mind, this is a process that must not be rushed, it requires slow meandering of street corners and looking for stuff that we have been trained to see as waste, all of our lives, as something more. It requires a rewiring of the brain so that one does not gloss over the rubbish but instead sees it as a part of the fabric of the world. This can become problematic too however because the way the rest of the world treats trash just not change simply because you do. There are certain inherent dangers and problems associated with the art of collecting trash.
The biggest problems I have faced so far are the ditches: so much of what is disposed ends up in them that I have been forced at times to go down their with my knee high boots and elbow high gloves. Because of the distinctly soggy nature of the ditches I have been forced to embrace certain rules in my collection of things, rules that were more flexible in New York must now be followed with care and diligence. As time goes on I will continue to add rules based upon my experience and inspiration. I will also catalog the objects I find and their locations on flickr.
Rules (so far):
-Nothing porous (fabric, pillows, most furniture)
-Nothing that can't be cleaned, either because cleaning will wreck its natural form or because there are parts of it that vinegar and baking soda cannot possibly impact.
-Everything collected must be cleaned immediately to prevent infestations of bugs or mold
Those are practical rules, there are however theoretical rules that will affect the art itself:
-If I bring it back to my studio (a covered car park in the back yard that I have cleaned up and taken over) I must then use it in my final presentation.
-If I see something that I want to pick up but I am unable to because I am otherwise engaged, I must return at the first possible opportunity, no more than 1 day later, to collect the object.
-a log must be kept of each item and its origin point
-anything used to connect the pieces in their final form must be kept to an absolute minimum and if at all possible the pieces found should be attached without external support. This will not always be an option but should be the preferred result.