Have you ever met an artist that works with copper? Meet TJ Volonis – a gifted Brooklyn-based mostly artist setting up astounding furnishings and wall artwork items utilizing copper tubes. His description helps us perceive his instinct that leads to so many delicately designed, strongly constructed items: “My work focuses on the dependent relationship between the entire and the phase and the delicate stability between order and dysfunction. In specific I work with patterns–portraying them merely and of their entirety, or by way of the prism of a bigger sample.” His ardour for this versatile materials was transposed in quite a few furnishings gadgets, like a tremendous eating desk two meters lengthy.
How did you begin on this enterprise? My path to this enterprise was initially unintentional, and slightly unconventional. I’ve all the time beloved copper as a cloth–its heat versatility and adaptableness. I had dreamed up methods to create issues from it like screens and lighting however had by no means taken it past the sketchbook stage of design. When my roommate moved out she left a rickety espresso desk she had gotten from a dumpster. I didn’t have the cash on the time to switch it so I determined to knock the legs off of it and construct a brand new base out of copper tubing. I did some analysis, purchased the supplies I wanted from Home Depot, drafted a design, and created it. I was proud of the result. At that point I was volunteering for a profit artwork public sale which highlighted rising artists. I made one other piece and entered it beneath a pseudonym. The piece was so properly acquired that it gained greatest in its class and attracted the eye of a gallerist who was concerned with the public sale. This gave me the encouragement to proceed.
Did you all the time work with copper or skilled different supplies as nicely? So far I’ve solely labored with copper. There are nonetheless so many qualities of the fabric I need to experiment with that I assume I’ll be targeted on it for a while. What qualities of the fabric made you select to work with copper? Its heat and its “elementality”–copper tubing appears to embody the elements of metallic, air, water, hearth, earth. I love the way it expresses magnificence in its numerous states (brilliant “new-penny” copper, barely tarnished and distressed from the blow torch, air oxidized to a honey brown colour, verdigris and different patinas). It conducts warmth readily and may reform molecular bonds when heated. I wish to take copper tubing which was meant for plumbing and re-tasking it to creating one thing shocking.
How many hours go into making a practical artwork piece? It varies drastically. For a bit as giant because the eating desk a whole lot of hours. For a smaller wall-mounted sculpture 20-30 hours +. Where do you discover inspiration for creating your lovely “order meets chaos” works? A lot of my inspiration comes from New York City itself and its large industrial infrastructure. Communal techniques similar to practice tracks, bridges and plumbing are essential to create an setting that’s liveable for a working society. I like taking a look at this by way of an inventive lens, and re-imagining it to be one thing lovely, past the meant utility. I’m additionally impressed by the fabric itself, and its personal sense of expression.
Please information Freshome readers by means of the artistic course of taking you from concept to completed product – how do you’re employed? I have two distinctly totally different working processes. One is far more composed and intentional. When I’m making a practical piece it needs to be designed pretty rigorously earlier than beginning the method of constructing it. The design will change in delicate methods as I progress and the fabric itself informs the design. The different course of is far more open and fluid–this is applicable to the wall-mounted/non-useful items. I start with a primary idea of the piece like a sure picture or theme I need to create inside the work, determine on the tough measurement of the piece, after which bounce in and begin constructing it. Again, the fabric informs the method and the completed piece, however that interplay is much more instrumental on this fashion of constructing.
You seize an attractive shade of the fabric – why do you favor it to, let’s say, shiny copper? I have made items that play with the totally different finishes and states of the fabric. Some I’ve left to air oxidize which creates a really mellow honey-brown shade over time, unsealed. Other items I’ve sealed with lacquer instantly to protect the scorch marks and discoloration of the torch. And different items I’ve polished and sealed proper after ending the piece to protect that new-penny gleam. I’m excited to start out working with electroplating and compelled patina quickly. The metallic is flexible when it comes to ending choices, and I discover it to be a wonderful materials in all these numerous states.
Seems that you simply divide the work into useful and ornamental objects – which of those is tougher and rewarding and why? Each has its personal challenges. Of the 2 working types, the harder are the useful items. Oftentimes, even with my expertise of the fabric, it gained’t do what I’ve designed for it. Then you must collaborate with the fabric and provide you with a mutually passable answer. I actually take a look at the copper tubing as a co-creator of my work. What have you ever discovered from working with copper tubing? That any artist or artisan who works with bodily supplies has to collaborate with the supplies themselves. They have their very own character, limits, and strengths.
You are a self-taught artist. How a lot time do you spend researching your line of labor? Some, however not lots. I want to be in studio experimenting. Occasionally I’ll lookup directions as to methods to obtain a specific look or manipulation method, however principally I figured it out as I go. I’ve all the time needed to apprentice with a plumber to study the extra formal methods. Maybe considered one of today I’ll get to that. What was the oddest request you needed to cope with? Really nothing very loopy to date. I’m pleased to attempt something a shopper would really like me to do. A profit to engaged on commissions is that I get to expertise the fabric and the look of my work from a special perspective.