Modifying everyday lackluster objects into tantalising artistic pieces has long been an artistic tradition. One of the key
originators was Marcel Duchamp who came up with the idea of 'readymades'. A readymade is defined as an ordinary object which is modified into art, whether it is by welding, dismantling, or tilting it. His first readymade in 1913 was a bicycle wheel mounted upon a wooden stool. His most renowned piece is a urinal turned upside down, which he entitled “The Fountain', and signed R, Mutt. At the time Duchamp's work caused great controversy as artists had always used the traditional tools of paint, brushes, pencil and pen. His work and idea were considered to be an assault on the very nature of conventional art itself. Duchamp found that the style of using ready-made’s had freed him from the traditional confines, and prevented him from falling into the trap of developing a particular style, and tastes. He helped to pave the way for many other artists to take ordinary everyday objects and turn them into works of art. More recently artists are turning to car parts as art to renew this artistic tradition.
Recently, art students from Manchester Metropolitan raised money for six local charities by taking parts from a used Mercedes car and turning them into sculptures which were then auctioned online. The students created a wide range of artworks including abstract sculptures and furniture such as tables and chairs. After being displayed at the Scrapyard Sculpture Exhibition the artworks were auctioned online and raised the grand sum of £831.
Ptolemy Elrington is an artist who became inspired by the huge amount of plastic car waste he saw that had been dumped. He wanted to make use of this waste in an imaginative way and so has developed his own method for sculpting plastic scrap such as hubcaps to create sculptures of animals. One of our favourites is this owl, we particularly love the eyes.
James Corbett who is based in Australia sells car parts for a living but for the last few years he has been taking the car parts and turning them into sculptures. If you take a closer look at the picture of the sheep you can see that the wool is actually hundreds of sparkplugs individually welded to the sculpture and the horns are real car horns. What is even more amazing is that Corbett claims that he never bends anything into shape to create his artworks. He uses every part of a car including clutch plates and even flywheels. You can see his work online at: www.jamescorbettart.com.
Steve Jasik worked as a mechanic in his family's business (German Autohaus) which gave him incredible insight into how car parts work. He takes desolate parts from scrapped cars and turns them into works of art. His family's auto shop is now an exhibition itself of his talents, the chairs and tables are the result of the rotors, sprigs and other parts that were welded and powder coated into something rather extraordinary. Jasik has reported on an increase in the demand for converted car parts into very unique pieces of furniture for contemporary and vastly wealthy homes in the hills of Hollywood. One of his more recent pieces included couches comprised of the rear ends of cars. He was the only artist at one exhibition whose canvas was a Volkswagen Bug!
In today's throwaway society we often think that once something has outlived its usual function it is obsolete so we dump it. It is brilliant to see people with open minds and creative impulses who can take things such as car parts and give them a new meaning and purpose.