My next foray into working with these materials was fifteen-years later. It was during this time that I discovered the plastics washing up. Seeing these plastics washing up on our beaches was a relatively new phenomenon for me, as I hadn’t noticed plastics washing up fifteen years prior, when I first started working with the driftwood. Ocean litter in the form of plastics washing around our oceans had become more prevalent during this fifteen-year period, and has become even more prevalent to this day. We all know from the media about the Garbage Patch, situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where vast amounts of plastics churn around creating toxins and danger to shipping and to sea life.
Following my working with the recycled materials in the form of found beach plastics which I turned into predominantly wall works, sculptures, installations and prints, I then looked to work with other recycled materials which I found interesting. One of the first of these materials was recycled plastic bags. I went into making more works with these materials mainly in the form of wall works, assemblages, which were fairly abstract assemblages encased in Perspex. This was to extend at a later time into sculpture in the form of various shapes I created out of clear acrylic tubing, which I used in the project for Jefferson City. Soon after, I was commissioned to make large public artworks. The first of these was the Guardian project, which I responded to wholeheartedly, knowing that the use of any form of recycled materials was something that I could now harness and be creative with without hesitation.
The project ended up being successful and is now testament to a heraldic entrance statement and received enormous community approval. It took nine months to complete and set the scene for future large-scale works, such as the Absolut project, which came hot on the heels of the Guardian. The Absolut commission was an invitation by Absolut of Sweden (the Vodka producers) for me to become the first Australian artist to be commissioned to join the Absolut Art Series.
Since then, I’ve gone on to work with many other recycled materials including working with the previously mentioned by-products from the plastics industry known as Purges.
These projects all had an interconnecting thread run through them, which can be explained as a response to process orientation.
Each project led on to the next in some way or another, during which I was able to use certain information gained through my process in the previous work.
By being alert to this essential process that happens in your work you will gain great insight and you will find your work can become in many ways effortless.
I continue to make works made from recycled materials including works from driftwood. Mostly I work with recycled materials because I find them tremendously satisfying to work with, I love the look of most recycled materials.
I’m passionate about the messages that the work conveys through the use of recycled material and I love without exception, the simple inspiration that it gives to people when they see this kind of work.
I see the whole field is now wide open for me in my chosen material whatever that is and this is a secret I know I have garnered through being intensely alert to the process orientation during my working day and responding to that in my creations, whether that be a major public artwork of a small intimate sculpture, painting or assemblage work.