Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Art Made From Trash

Fall is the season which most fuels my creative energies.
I see potential for strange art-objects in the bits of trash that I find on the sidewalk and at garage sales. I have had a streak of picking things up and taking them home with me. My roommates have borne the brunt of this habit, because all the things I collect 
"for the sake of art" end up in our small, campus apartment. 

I have decided to devote the next few days of blogging to these found objects. They are sometimes nature-y things like pods or flowers. They can be findings at the library book-sale or from the curb-side. My first post (the one you are reading right now!) will be about the strange monument that Sheldon and I made out of trash on Saturday. 

What is a Surrealist Object? Let us consult the Museum of Modern Art's definition. They say this:

"Many Surrealist artists, especially in the 1930s, began arranging objects in combinations that  challenged reason and summoned subconscious and poetic associations. The most easily obtained materials were found objects, or items cheaply purchased at flea markets. The mundane, mostly mass-produced objects found new resonances when arranged in unprecedented and provocative configurations. 
Surrealist leader André Breton believed that this new form of sculpture, called assemblage, had the power to puncture the thin veneer of reality, and tap into the subconscious mind. As Breton proclaimed: “To aid the systematic derangement of all the senses….it is my opinion that we must not hesitate to bewilder sensation…”

I do not know if I agree with the idea of "tapping into the subconscious". In fact,
I think that letting one's mind wander to the extent that Breton would have encouraged can lead into some scary thoughts and feelings. But I do agree with the idea of "bewildering sensation" or startling ourselves out of the normal things that we do every day. Breton means for this excerice of creating surrealist objects can help us find a sense of wonder or curiosity about things that have become so normal that we have ceased to pay attention to them any more. 

I will tell you about our inspiration and the process that went into creating our found-object art. Then over the next few days I will tell you about the other things 
I have collected lately. 

I hope you enjoy the next couple of posts! 

Lucy Rose

How to Create a Surrealist Object in Your Town
The Approved Lucy Rose and Sheldon Method 

1. Chose an area for your hunt. We chose the area near the train tracks and the sidewalk. A lot of cool metal objects get mixed in to the stones right next to the tracks. You can also choose a natural area and make a nature version of this. 

2. Start collecting cool things that you find on site. Sheldon and I milled about on the seven ft. squared area and searched for anything that caught out eye. I found a rock that had been spray-painted green. He found a twisted piece of wire. I found a twig that had been smoothed against the rocks like suburban driftwood. Sheldon found a pale-green plastic straw...You get the idea! 

3. Now it is time to revel in what you have found together. Put 'em in a pile. If you are doing this activity solo then just speak to an imaginary friend or admire the items quietly to yourself. This step is important, because half the fun of doing this project is the pure appreciation of odds and ends. My and Sheldon's inventories of found-objects usually go like this:
Sheldon: Oooh! I like that rock! Can I see it?
Lucy Rose: Sure. Isn't it cool?
Sheldon: Yes. I like this jagged part.

4. Time to start playing with the objects. Arrange them in different configurations. Line them up by size. Categorise them by colour. Experiment with fitting some of them inside of others. 

5. Choose the final site for the object. Sheldon and I chose the corner of a giant transformer for our object to rest. A transformer is one of those giant metal boxes that sit outside buildings and help do something to the electricity in town. You know. Right? Sigh. My knowledge of electrical things is so small. Anyway, the point is to choose a nice surface for the place upon which you shall compose your small monument. 

6. Using as many of your found objects as possible create a composition. When Sheldon and I made ours we felt like it had slightly humanoid features. We also thought it looked like a sentinel holding a spear and standing in a watch tower or turret of some sort. Feel free to enliven your work with similar musings. What do the objects in relation to one another remind you of?

7. Get weird looks form people who walk by and see you playing with trash. Sheldon and I got real comfortable on the side of the road near the library and train-tracks. It was a busy Saturday morning with people wandering around to visit the French market. We got some strange looks from people who must have thought that two grown people fiddling with rocks and sticks and trash was a bit odd.  This is also a must-have component of this freeing exercise. Embrace the weird. Why? Because being an artist requires weirding people out sometimes. How else will you learn to have a distinct voice instead of saying the things that other people already said?

Alright. I got a little preachy toward the end of this odd post. Please forgive me. Basically I wanted to tell you about this experience that we had. I enjoye dit so much becuase for the last few days since our doing it I have been going around and instead of seeing bits of trash I see the pieces of exciting new art projects. I hope that rather than feeling preached at by a kooky artsy person you too leave this place (is the internet a place? Hmmm...Philosophical questions!) feeling inspired and empowered to pick things up off the side of the road and play with them!

Lucy Rose 


  1. You're so creative! It's certainly a unique way to spend an afternoon :) x

    Josie | Sick Chick Chic

    1. Thanks, Josie:) Sheldon and I get pretty creative. Sometimes it is distracting when we need to get homework done, becasue we are having too much fun making strange things!

  2. It looks like a fancy living room setup with a big spinning chair for a mastermind and a comfy carpet with soft light from the lamp to soothe his soul as he reads about how to dominate the world.

    1. Leya, you are hilarious. I love your imagination.