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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A New Type(writer) of Art

I know people who prefer typewriters to computers.  There is something satisfying about clicking away on a manual machine, although I'm glad to not have the need for white-out any more.  But Jeremy Mayer is into typewriters in an unusual way - he makes art with them.

Mayer disassembles typewriters and uses the parts to make life-size human figures and other creatures.  The human figures are anatomically correct.  Before using the pieces he categorizes them according to what anatomical parts they remind him of.

He sketches his ideas digitally using Photoshop or a CAD or 3D program. Sometimes he uses live models.  For human figures he starts with the spine and pelvis to insure that the weight of the piece will be supported, just like a live human.

He does not use glue, nor does he solder or weld the parts.  Instead he uses screws, pins, nuts and bolts, and other common devices.  No parts that did not come from a typewriter are used.  It takes him between 400 and 1,400 hours to build a full-size human figure, and about 40 typewriters.

Mayer describes his work as a cross between Da Vinci's drawings and the futuristic ideas of sci-fi writers like Philip K. Dick or William Gibson.  He seems to lean towards steampunk, as well, although that is apparently not his intention.

Whatever his influences, his work is an interesting blend of science/technology and nature.  His interests include molecular engineering and biotechnology.  Of course, sci-fi is not only an interest but has inspired him since he was child intrigued by his mother's manual typewriter.

Recycling and repurposing was also his intent and when he started using typewriters he thought they were becoming obsolete artifacts.  His feelings have changed somewhat as typewriters made a sort of comeback, even though its been for their historical value rather than use.

He strives to make all his sculptures anatomically correct.  To make the penguin sculpture, he went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to study them.  He will alter his sculptures minimally by bending, drilling, and cutting, but not so these adjustments are visible.

The California Bay Area resident finds inspiration in meditating and letting the parts he has accumulated come together in his head.  He seems to have given wide berth to his imagination since he was a boy, and the sculptures he makes are the fruits of that mental wandering.

Since he's proven a tendency to follow his mind and imagination, I expect more good things to come from his creativity.  As he grows and learns more, his art should grow in interesting ways.  An artist to keep an eye on, for sure.

All images courtesy of the artist - take a look at his website.

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