Andrew Chase is an artist who creates sculpture from industrial parts. This was published in Artizen Magazine in July, 2010. You can click on the photo to read the article in publication or read the copy below.
How do you supply, to a mythical world, limitless free labor and energy? Hmm, perhaps with machinery. And suppose you were to draw upon form and function that is already abundant in this mythical world that happens to be just brushing up against a new age of industry. Likely, you would use the most capable forms available in what are presently, still natural surroundings. It was within such an imagined place that Andrew Chase began a creative journey that culminated in his gorgeous sculptural animals-supple and organic in form, yet very industrial in components (and imagined functions.)
This flight of fancy, however, is recent in Andrew Chase’s artistic career, which covered a lot of territory before
padding out on four legs. Andrew led Artizen back through his earlier story, one which we could laugh about together as
being so similar to many other artisans’ humble beginnings.
“About 15 years ago, I started out as a commercial photographer, and, as the story often goes, was living in an old warehouse in the bad part of town. I came to realize that I really needed some bars on the windows and after shopping around for help with that, came to realize that I needed to buy a welder, because I couldn’t afford to pay someone else to make the bars.” After successfully making his warehouse loft safer, Andrew went on to use the welder to create furniture, which was in turn, seen by some of his photography clients who then commissioned office furniture. You can view both a beautiful photography portfolio and shots of well designed, handcrafted furniture on Andrew’s website along with the fantastic metal sculptures that found my eye while perusing the NDI Gallery online.
You’ll also see a link on Andrew’s site for a Personal Project and it was in there that I found a series of painterly photographs, depicting the mechanical animals that first drew me in, all on murky scenic backdrops. It turns out that I had stumbled across the original project, a children’s book, for which Andrew had created his menagerie. The backdrops were the underpinnings of an imaginary desert city which needed to have water constantly supplied from deep underground wells. Each animal/servant had a purpose and together they formed a self-sufficient society. Cheetahs were fast movers, elephants huge laborers, giraffes acted as cranes and giant sloths worked as miners and carriers. In order to create the book as he wanted, Andrew fashioned posable, machinery animals. He later used this feature to film stop action videos such as the running cheetah, which drew in an ever widening audience for his sculptural pieces.
Aside from the smooth heavy elegance of these animals, my favorite aspect is that they are created largely from recycled materials. Andrew haunts local transmission shops, picking up used parts to sculpt together using his welding. The use-full-ness of all the machine parts seems to transition from history to imagination to aesthetic. “All these parts with a purpose then lend that sense of purpose to the sculpture itself.”
Asked about his main influences, Andrew sites Dr. Seuss and H.R. Giger and I have to stop and think about what a strange and wonderful combination. I’m certainly familiar with the two visionaries, but they’d never crossed neural paths for me. Yet each certainly created entire landscapes and planets and filled them with creatures evolved to best suit the environments, beings intimately linked with their functions. I can see Andrew’s creatures being a unique combination of light-hearted fantasy with surreal bio-mechanical engineering. I hope his wilderness continues to grow and I’d love to see that book published.
Andrew Chase accepts commissions for replicas of his animals.
His work and other outstanding artists using recycled materials,
can be seen at the NDI Gallery by clicking HERE.