Owen here! Today I’d like to talk about using found objects in art.
I’m always finding random things when I go out. There are lots of free piles where I live, with anything from books to art supplies just sitting and waiting for a stranger to collect them. When using these for art, I find the challenge of figuring out what to do with these items can lead to more interesting and satisfying art than what I make when I’m able to purchase exactly what I want to start out with.
There are three things I recommend to make found object art even better.
Have a stash!
When you chance on a fabulous seashell or an unidentifiable industrial thingamabob, it’s nice to have things on hand that you can accessorize them with. I like using beads and charms to accompany things I’ve found, or I’ll dip into my fabric stash to turn the object into something else entirely.
Make it into something unrecognizeable!
I find some of my best found object work comes about when I have no idea what the thing was originally meant to do. It’s easier to think outside the box when you didn’t realize you weren’t supposed to stray outside of it.
If you do recognize the object, take a lesson from the Whose Line Is It Anyway game Props. Play with it. See how many applications you can think of for it, even if they are silly. In this way you can generate a hundred stories, and then all you have to do is focus in on one.
Get inspired by it!
You don’t have to place the object itself in your art. You can keep it around to inspire other art pieces. Look deeply at it. Take note of what seems interesting about it to you, and try different ways to represent that in your work.
One word of caution: Once you start collecting found objects for your art, it’s very easy to get way too many of them! It’s a good idea to set some rules for yourself – for instance, have a set number of objects you’re allowed to have. If you want to pick something new up, get rid of something else when you get it home.