By Angela Romeo
Art has always enjoyed a relationship with recycling of material. To me, the art of up-cycling is intriguing. My jewelry line incorporates up-cycling by using something old or unwanted in a new way. To turn an unwanted item into something new is a challenge but the master of up-cycling is Christopher James.
Christopher has roots in the Coachella Valley and works out of his High Desert studio. This self-taught artist was born in Florida and his childhood was spent traveling the country. Exposure to the diversity of people, landscapes and animals, fueled Chris’ imagination. His artwork truly shows the depth of that imagination.
Scouring the desert for discarded metal, Chris takes these cast-off pieces and creates imaginative to practical works of art. As razor wire becomes a nest for a griffon or a metal wheel transforms into a man with a mission, it is hard to remember the origins of the material. The medium is transformed into something that is often magical and whimsical but always with heart. It happens because Chris sees the material in away few ever would. He sees its true beauty.
While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder seeing that beauty is not always easy. “I see opportunity with every welding rod and abandoned car fender. I see life and that means beauty. I am hoping that my work inspires others to think about the environment. By giving these cast-offs a second life, I give life to my work. I also take a piece of what some consider trash and I leave a piece of the earth less polluted,” said Christopher.
But Christopher’s work is not just about repurposing discarded steel. It is about the unbridled power that Art can have over a person. Chris, by creating work from metal destined for the junkyard, proves that Art is far more than paintings on a wall. His sculptures have a universal appeal but the work in not trite. His creatures have a backstory that beckons the viewer.
Repurposed material for repurposed art is a broad concept. In Chris’ hands the word repurposed loses all meaning and the word is that is left is Art. Chris leaves us his Art – nothing less than Art
Christopher’s work will be exhibited at Gabba Gallery in Los Angeles. His latest show opens February 18, with an artist’s reception from 7 pm to 11 pm. For more information visit facebook.com/christopher.james.metal.