My current drawing project 'Landfill' explores a passion for detailing forgotten objects and the beauty of rusted things that are of no use any more. At the beginning of 2018 I started documenting these objects, with graphite on paper.
This was also prompted by a comment about working as an artist from John Brack's widow, Helen Maudsley. Also an artist, she quoted, "It's a stupid thing to be in (art). Everyone's doing things for landfill. That's what we're working for: landfill."
With this in mind, I decided to draw beautiful relics that might also, eventually end up as landfill.
A medium I’ve always felt at ease working with is graphite. This seemed like a natural choice to document the LANDFILL series. As a pencil ‘lead’ is made from graphite sourced from the earth, along with clay, I felt there was a relationship between this and the rusted subject matter I’m attracted to: which over time, will gradually disintegrate back into the earth. This is also true of the works I'm creating: an erasable medium like graphite, on a fragile surface (paper).
Another reason for choosing to use only graphite pencils for this series is the concern I have for the environment. As humans, we’re lucky enough to inhabit this place, however it’s no secret that we’re destroying it. If artist, Helen Maudsley’s comments are true, that artists are merely producing more landfill, I considered it only appropriate that this series of work should be produced as minimally as possible. During the production of each work in the series I’ll be keeping things simple: a bunch of pencils, a few erasers, sharpeners and paper to draw on. That’s all. I’ve also been tracking my waste produced through the creation of this series, keeping every pencil shaving in a jar as I’m progressing.
For many years I’ve been attracted to distressed objects that have reached the end of their useful life. In addition to these objects, the LANDFILL series will also explore the subject title in its obvious form and in more conceptual representations, questioning our place on earth and interaction with the environment.
"Realist art is pointless, simply take a photo". I've heard and read comments like this before, and in some ways I agree. But as a graphic artist that naturally leans toward realism in my own creative practice, I also disagree. I think sometimes photorealistic art or 'hyperrealism' can imbue subject matter with a degree of renewed clarity. The works I’ll be producing as part of the LANDFILL series will mostly be stripped of their surroundings with hints about context left out for the viewer to interpret.