Monday, December 29, 2008

Laying the foundation

Even though I've been a graphic artist for Lord knows how long now (33 years?!) it's been a challenge to get into a fine artist head space. I need an artist statement. Good grief. I don't have the foggiest idea of what I'm going to say. I know it won't be stuffy or too high headed.

I've got my website up and a handful of assemblage pieces on it. I've got to expand on the art and stick to more of a series of pieces than the hodge podge I've got on it right now. Focus, Randy, focus! More guitars? More UFO and freaky baby machines? Or should I go more into the realm of the "Sanctuary" piece I created a while back?

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Katrina Collection

I came across this website by accident. I think it's well worth your time to look at some very cool artwork and a film about the art of Lori Gordon. Lori was living in Louisiana near the coast during hurricane Katrina's violent visit in 2005. Lori has created some really nice pieces of assemblage using found objects that she collected after the hurricane devastated her neighborhood. Visit Lori's site here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Step by Step: This One Wants to be a Blues Guitar

I've finally finished my blues guitar assemblage, "This One Wants To Be A Blues Guitar." You can read the story about it here. Here are some photos I took during the creation process that will give you an idea of what went into the project.

#1) The guitar. I got this from a guy on Craig's list who sold it to me for $10 because the back had a huge crack in it. It was the perfect shape and basis for my blues guitar assemblage.

#2) The pieces. I went through my collection of "treasures" and picked out some things I thought might work for this theme. Not everything would work into the finished piece.

#3) I start positioning and gluing the pieces that I think work. First I add some tin molds that I got from a second hand shop. They remind me of something that would be on an old guitar back in the 20s and 30s. Maybe I'll put something inside them. At this point, I can't decide, but I glue them on anyway.

#4) The dice I found work perfect. They are different sizes which after they are arranged, give the neck a cool perspective. I turn all the dice to the number 1 side and position them on the dots on the neck. They all add up to the number 7. I recall the lyrics to an old blues song about being the "seventh son of a seventh son." That works for me!

#5) I hand letter some random lyrics from a collection of Robert Johnson songs in blue acrylic paint and then outline them in very light blue.

#6) The finished product. I've added some Monopoly cards, painted and glued the wooden cross, added sequins, a framed photo of Robert Johnson, some angels...and I'm done. The dream is now a reality.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Monkey Shines

I've always been hugely inspired by Michael Demeng's assemblage work. This is one of my favorites that he recently completed. Way cool. Read about it here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

“This one wants to be a blues guitar.”

I have been struggling over the subject of my next guitar assemblage. It should be a fairly easy decision, but it hasn’t been. I had pretty much made up my mind to do a New Orleans themed guitar assemblage and was mapping it out in my mind over the last few days.

Then two nights ago, I had a dream. In this dream, I was sitting next to an old man who looked a little like blues legend Robert Johnson. I handed him my beat up old acoustic guitar that I was going to use for the assemblage and told him about my struggle over what theme to use. I then asked him to give me his opinion on what I should do.

He took the guitar, strummed a few chords, looked at me and said, “This one wants to be a blues guitar.” End of dream. I’m not superstitious or anything, but I can take a hint. A blues guitar it will be.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Nemo 20,000

I just finished up a new guitar assemblage that I'm calling "The Nemo 20,000." It reminds me of something Captain Nemo might play in the Nautilus on a rainy day. ;P

I bought the guitar off of eBay for about $5. I sanded it and coated the entire guitar with copper and iron acrylic paint. Added some dabs of rust and copper patina to age it.

At Goodwill I found a cool oxygen gauge which I stuck at the top of the guitar. That piece gave me fits. It was too heavy to glue, so I had to drill a hole and then seal it with Liquid Nails.

JoAnn's craft shop had some neat little wooden pegs that looked like rivets.

There is a piece from a cheese grater with a handle so Nemo can really "shred" when he wants to.

Finally I put an exhaust pipe on it and a temp/humidity gauge and a couple of plastic firemen to watch over the whole flammable mess.

You can click on the image to get a little closer look.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Brotherhood

Here are some photos of a recent completed assemblage called, "The Brotherhood." It was a commissioned piece for a client that had an ancestor who was a member of the "Oddfellows Society" (I included a vintage medal that I had in my collection in the piece). It represents some of the "secret societies" out there.

I created it with a weird assortment of found objects including: magnifying glass, eye of God, female swim figurine, wooden box, Odd Fellows medal, hour glass, IBM Selectric type font ball, plastic Halloween skulls, acrylic paint, computer parts and some unidentifiable pieces.

The hour glass spins so you can time your viewing of "God's Eye." If you stare too long at it, you can go crazy. Just sayin.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Layers Upon Layers

Cyndi Lavin at the Layers Upon Layers blog was kind enough to do an interview with me this month. Check it out here...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Gorilla Glue and Barnacles

I worked late last night on a couple of assemblages. "The Brotherhood" is a commissioned piece that is giving me fits. There's a couple of pieces on this thing that won't stay attached no matter what I do. So last night, I used the "glue of last hope" - Gorilla Glue. If you've never worked with Gorilla Glue, beware. Once applied, the stuff grows and swells like a loaf of bread wherever you put it. It only takes little teeny weeny bit to stick something, so don't do what I did and think "more is better." It's not. After it's dried you'll be chiseling if off of your artwork like barnacles on a ship's hull.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Texas Art of the Covenant

Every good Texan needs a Texas shrine and now I've made mine. This took awhile to put together and it is made of tons of different things that I've found on my treasure hunts.

I found the main body of the piece at a garage sale a few years back here in Oregon. I kept it all this time because I knew eventually I would have a use for it. This may not be the complete list, but the rest of the shrine is made up of, a tin star, sequins, acrylic paint, brass horn, miniature cowboy boot, longhorn head, horse, scorpion, wooden block, cowboy figure, brass candle stand, William Barret Travis signature from the Alamo letter (not real!) wooden ruler and a Mexican bingo card. Did I forget anything? I don't think so.

This is perfect for any Texan who misses home (like me) and wants to have something to salute to every morning (don't forget to face southwest). I may have to keep it though.

The idea is that everything is bigger, grander, gaudier and more spectacular in Texas. The roof of the shrine surpasses the total height of the ruler (Texas is bigger you know). Did you know the Texas capital building is taller than the capital building in Washington?

These pictures aren't the best quality, but they give you an idea anyway. Click on any of them to get a closer view. "Remember the Alamo!"

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mexican Hat Dance

I think I'm going to have to get a handle on my obsessive compulsive "treasure hunting" habits. It seems like I can barely refrain from heading down to the top secret headquarters where I shop for interesting pieces for my assemblage almost on a daily basis. Must - stop - now. Too - much - stuff - in - my - studio!

I did run across some interesting things last week. My top find was a Mexican mariachi sombrero, complete with sequins and ornate stitching. I got it for a song (or was it a Cumbia?). Not sure what I'm going to do with it, but I'm sure something will come to me.

My latest assemblage project, "The Texas Art of the Covenant" is almost finished. Gah! It's taking forever! It needs that special last touch, and I think I know what it is. See you when it's done.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Wow. It's been way too long since I last posted. I'll try to fix that little problem.

Pictured above is my latest assemblage piece, titled, "Sanctuary." It's a private commission and I'm happy with the way it turned out.

I learned a few things along the way with this particular assemblage. The next one will be a little easier than this one was, I think.

I used a whole variety of bits and pieces for "Sanctuary." All pieces found at my "secret" junk location. ;) Let's see, I used a wooden box that had a half moon already carved out of the top; a little metal mold that I used for the top of the "nicho." I found a pair of metal humming birds that I put under that; two little birds from who knows what, a plastic biblical figure that I placed inside the mold, a couple of wooden branches for either side and a Mexican bingo card with a tree on it for the background.

All in all, a pretty fun piece to do.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Rocketship #7

While at a Goodwill store, I found an interesting old, what looks like a metal coffee filter of some kind.

It had three cool legs on it already, and I could tell right away that it was going to become a rocket.

I went down to Home Depot, found some small plastic plumbing "elbow" joints that I used for the thrusters.

The number 7 was a chrome house number that I found at the same place.

I then coated the entire piece with a iron acrylic paint. I added some rusting solution and a patina to the number.

The inside of the piece is stuffed with multi-colored Christmas tree lights that blink. It looks pretty cool in the dark.