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Archive for the ‘Found Object Art’ Category

Repurposing, Artsmith style

23 May

You may know that I am an avid “repurposer” when it comes to my art. Doing the steampunk airships and steampunk hot air balloons that I do, I try to use as many everyday objects as possible, especially things that most people don’t even try to recycle. I find that the most common things we use without a second thought often make the best pieces in my sculptures. These pieces very often have unique and complex shapes that are easily disguised as something else entirely.

As an example, the photos below show a few views of a steampunk hot air balloon gondola that I recently completed. As you can see, the elements that went into it are very common things that once dismantled, rearranged, painted and reassembled, look nothing like the original materials, but now have an entirely new and beautiful life!

Photo collage of the construction of a steampunk hot air balloon gondola using repurposed found objects.

Repurposed object steampunk hot air balloon gondola

In my next post, (which I admit have been few and far between lately…), I’ll post a bit of a “Beginner’s Guide” to show you my process so you can get some ideas to inspire some of your own repurposing projects!

What kinds of other projects are you working on? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

What kind of people buy my sculptures?

22 Nov

Q: Who is it that wants to have one of my creations? I ask myself this question often because knowing who wants your stuff and how to get it to them is important!

A: The answer to the question varies a bit because I’ve had lots of very different people buy my work. I guess it starts with people who enjoy the steampunk aesthetic since most of what I’m doing right now revolves around steampunk one way or another. And, most of the steampunk stuff is airships or hot air balloons. I think that’s because in addition to steampunk being a visually cool genre, steampunk airships are a whimsical and fantastic look at a “what if” world. Steampunk airships are awe-inspiring and amazing, so even if you weren’t a huge fan of steampunk before, one of my sculptures would convert you!

Photo of Victorian style steampunk airship sculpture Anastasia,  36" long, (Maki size).

The Airship Anastasia

So, people who like steampunk, but what else? Certainly people who want that aesthetic to be a part of their home or business. I have had people commission pieces for their homes and I’ve had people commission pieces for businesses. The most notable were the two airships that I did for a Chicago corporate holiday party last year. Once their appearance was done at the party, they were to go to hang in the company’s corporate offices. The company, you ask? GOOGLE!

I guess the people who would buy my work boils down to people who love and appreciate steampunk and want to have elements of it on display in their homes and/or offices and are willing to pay what I ask for my work. It isn’t cheap…there is simply too much love, attention and time put into each piece. Like any serious artist, my pieces are like my children and it hurts me to see them leave the nest, but I love seeing the joy they bring to those who want them and I’ll continue to build these fantasy filled creations for as long as I’m able, but I’m not getting any younger. Better get yours while you can!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Steampunk vents from repurposed lids – Artsmith Craftworks

10 Aug

In my DIY Fridays YouTube series, I post videos on how I turn various objects into pieces to add to my art. Most of these objects are every day things that I find, some are scrap, some are disposable items that I hate to see tossed in the trash. Plastics, paper, cardboard, metal, wood, toys, etc, can all be used to create amazing art with a little paint and patina for aging!

In this video, I show how I repurpose those cool little plastic lids from squeeze applesauce into vents that I put on my steampunk airships.

Let me know what you’d like to see from me in video and ask me what else I repurpose!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

What feeds my chi?

27 Jun

What gives me energy? What floats my boat? What feeds my chi (qi)? These are questions I’ve talked about before, but they always bear repeating.

I love envisioning ways to turn random objects into pieces of art. I love taking pieces of plastic, wood, cardboard, metal, etc., and turning them into something virtually unrecognizable. This is what I did when I was a kid and unlike most adults, I never grew out of it. I like putting things together and making unbelievable art out them.

In my case, I like using things that other people discard. Things that have colors and shapes and textures, but are seen as disposable…junk…trash. Things like plastic lids, packaging materials, old damaged toys, uniquely shaped boxes and bottles, food packaging fiberboard boxes…and the list goes on and on. These things are materials that at their hearts, are no different than the shapes, textures and colors that you buy as your media in art stores, but these materials are free.

Photo montage of the construction of a steampunk airship sculpture propeller, made of random found objects.

Propeller construction montage

So, what feeds my chi is finding these materials. At garage sales, estate sales, at the side of the road when I run, or even in dumpsters. No, I’m not ashamed to admit that I go dumpster diving pretty frequently, and yeah, it smells bad sometimes, but the treasures are worth it.

What feeds your chi?

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Steampunk airship parts from found objects

15 Jun

My main artistic philosophy is to create cool art from repurposed and found objects. Today, I thought I’d show how I imagine these pieces and parts into steampunk airship features. Enjoy the video, and please give it a like, share it with a friend and subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Repurposing cardboard into steampunk airship gondolas – Artsmith Craftworks

09 May

One of the major activities I engage in when creating my art is repurposing everyday objects into something else. A couple of the things I repurpose the most are paper and corrugated cardboard…  simple and seemingly utilitarian materials that we all take for granted. Not me. I look at these materials with love and excitement. I’m passionate about art using repurposed materials, but at the very core of my being, I love paper and other materials made with paper, such as cardboard, fiberboard, handmade paper, recycled paper, papier mâché and on and on.

In today’s post, I include a video in which I talk about how I transform scrap corrugated cardboard into the framework of the steampunk Victorian airship gondolas I create. Once these cardboard pieces are put together, I cover them in a variety of outer skins, from wood to copper and brass to steel or other metals. Of course, what I use is not really wood or metals…it’s paper…made to look like metal. That’s just how I roll.

Enjoy!

What materials do you like to use in your art? I’d love to hear your comments! Also, please share these posts with other friends and artists you know. Let’s get a conversation started!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

My artistic philosophy

28 Apr

I create many types of art, from paper mache animals, to mosaics, to paper sculptures, to steampunk airship sculptures. However, most all of my art involves the use of repurposed materials and found objects.

In the video below, I detail my artistic philosophy!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.