Swapped your clunky old mobile for an iPhone? Your boxy PC for a notebook? Don’t throw them out — drop them off on junk artist Gabriel Dishaw’s doorstep.
“I take the items people no longer have use for and I carefully disassemble these items and then reassemble them using metal wire creating my junk art,” says the 29-year-old artist from Carmel, Ind., who makes sculptures from discarded materials.
“I begin each sculpture with an idea of how can I take these found pieces of useless metal and insignificant objects and create something that everyone can understand and relate to. I find myself looking at ordinary mechanical items to see how I could turn that something, into something else not originally intended for that use,” he said.
“I’ve been doing junk art since the ninth grade. My mom’s an artist so I get it from her. My dad on the other hand is very mechanical and more technical.”
The combination of these two parental skills led to him taking up this project. “That’s where it all started although since then, my work has become more refined,” he says.
A self-confessed sneaker fan, Dishaw owns 250 pairs — Nike’s are his favourite. His day job as a regional trainee for U.S. footwear company Finish Line keeps him up to date with the latest foot trends.
Dishaw’s Junk Art includes scores of sculptures, from robots to clothing, made from all sorts of scrap — from glass, metal and wood to computers and typewriters.
And there is an eco-element in his work. He said: “I’m concerned about conservation. I grew up in a rural farm area, so I’ve always been conscientious about the environment. Americans throw away everything. They will throw a phone away after one year. It’s such a waste.”
People who are aware of his work stop by to drop things off on his doorstep. This means he has access to a lot of material. “It’s cheap, people don’t charge for trash…” he said.
Dishaw always works on inspiration, and it’s obvious his latest work — the Pentium Blazer 1.0, a bizarre-looking sneaker that must rank as one of the world’s most uncomfortable, is based on his favourite high top.
He said “I used an old typewriter which was great as when you take them apart, they are so intricate and have a lot of identical components. This way you can easily make a right side, left side and so on. “You could actually put them on — it would be painful, but they’re a size 9.5.”
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