Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Nodding Donkey oil pump

-Eureka! This piece is really about my oil well! It's about my
complicity in the world's self-destructive dependence on fossil
This spring I decided to submit a piece in support of the Landfillart
Project. Ken Marquis, organizer and curator of the project, hopes
to have a book and traveling exhibit by 2012 that "portrays the arts
communities efforts to positively impact the environment through
re purposing previous metal waste.."
All artists receive a reclaimed hubcap to use as their canvas. I got
mine back in late March. My original proposal had the intention of
exploring my automotive roots that consisted of helping in my
fathers auto body shop as I was growing up. Perhaps some kind of
transformation of the hubcap into an artist book? Much to the
dismay of my salt of the earth father and two uncles I spent an in-
ordinate amount of time welding 'assemblages' from the ever grow-
ing junk pile behind the shop. "You could make something of your-
self if only you stopped wasting your time."
Now it's late June and I've been back and forth: somewhere between
progress and procrastination. I had worked up a series of custom
decals based on vintage photos of the shop and wrecked cars that
went through it. They didn't click here. Somehow that story seemed
a bit intimate for the hubcanvas. There seems to be another narrative

Soldering mesh hands for hubcanvas mixed media piece

Instead I think the piece is about oil; we're hooked on it and our
landfills are filling up with the discarded products that had their
origin in the oil patch and our throwaway culture.
And, Yes I own a piece of this mess.
My grandmother, Maud, proud Nebraska frontier woman had
oil discovered on her ranch and I (along with a gazillion assorted
grand and great grand kids) all got a piece of this aging and nearly
pumped dry well. I still get an occasional royalty check from some
subsidiary of a subsidiary. Usually enough to buy a few art supplies.
So what the hell, lets make a piece that looks gift horses in the
mouth. No offense grandma, but we've got to make some tough
oil decisions.


Susan said...

I'm looking forward to seeing the completed hubcap art. Once, several years ago here in Columbia there was a "hubcap" art show. There was no association with landfills or global ecology....just a way to transform a hubcap for a show held in a former automotive garage that functioned for a few years as an alternative artspace. I turned my hubcap (which I had to locate myself....off the side of the road) into a wedding veil. Eventually it sold at a charity event called Dining with Friends benefiting Aids research and assistance. It remains one of the only functional pieces I've ever created! I think this project has lots more potential even though watching the crowd at the charity event taking turns being the "bride" was a total hoot!

Bill Evertson said...

LOL - I would love to see photo's of that! Reminds me that Jafa had a post on Chakaia Booker who makes wearables from refuse. http://jafabrit.blogspot.com/2009/03/red-shoes-chakaia-booker.html

Owen said...

Hey Bill, me too, looking forward to seeing the hub cap production. And some photos of the wrecked cars in your familie's shop... that's right up my alley for art. So, all these years later... hopefully family has accepted what you made of yourself, despite the time perceived as being wasted...

Art said...

Neat. What happens to the hubcaps afterwords?