1m2 volume . A couple of months ago, my fellow artist here at Greatmore, Maurice, had a little studio clear out to make space for his large works in progress. One of the things he was letting go of was a couple of fiberglass molded fish bodies. The story behind them made this hard for him to do.
It goes like this: Many years ago Maurice started hanging out with the taxidermist at the Iziko museum, in order to learn the basics of mold making and working with fiberglass. The relationship developed into one of an unofficial mentor-ship, an apprenticeship offered from a place of generosity and a meeting of creative minds. Maurice and the man became very fond of each other. When the taxidermist retired, he gave a couple of fiberglass blanks to Maurice when clearing out his own studio. So Maurice was happy to hand them on to me and see them used. No pressure!
At the beginning of the year I made a small fish for a charity auction that I liked so much, I was dying to make another, so of course, here was the perfect base, only about 10 times bigger. The mold was made from an actual real-life full-size Steenbrass. These fish have become endangered so their own story ties in perfectly with the message I want to convey with this piece.
It has taken 2 months to cover the fish in single use plastic cutlery with water bottle details. Attaching each piece with hot glue, which is essentially melted plastic has been excruciating! My finger tips have been burnt and blistered again and again! The things we do for art :) So finally it is done, I present you with this fishy situation thats as much about the pollution of our oceans and the fish that live in it, as it is about what we consume as a result, this plastic contamination that we eat with chips!
The aggressive fishing of our oceans and the waste created by that industry is referenced by the endangered Steenbrass and the net its caught in, coupled with the plastics pollution coming from our addiction to throw away consumerism. I have aimed to elevate everyday disposable junk to art. To make a beautiful and precious thing from materials that are normally discarded without a thought. And of course, the work of the old museum taxidermist is finally brought to fruition. I wonder if he would have approved?
Painter and Sculptor