A few years ago I decided to embark on an art based project with my 9-year old son. The challenge was to transform our generic modern white box into something a bit more unusual. However, as the budget was tight we had to be very creative in our approach and broke into stages. After weeks of deliberation, we completed phase one and clad the house in a charred timber called Shou Sugi Ban. This innovative technique originated in Japan and has become very popular with contemporary architects. Interestingly we are the first homeowners to use this distinctive material in South Australia. The second phase involved commissioning a local artist (SA Screen Creations) to manufacture some Cor-ten steel laser cut panels, which were mounted on the fence and vertical columns of our home. They also work perfectly with our large fish sculpture, which is fabricated from salvaged agricultural machinery.
In the last year, I have seen many sculptures in places like South Australia and Tasmania. It always amazes me how specialist craftsman can create beautiful artworks from recycled materials. Recently on Australia’s national news channel (ABC), they featured a regional artist called Jordan Sprigg, who is based in a small Wheatbelt town called Narembeen, located in Western Australia. A few years ago Jordan had an epiphany, which triggered a massive career change. Operating from the family farm he constructs huge sculptures from reclaimed agricultural parts. Far from being just a hobby, these formidable pieces are coveted by collectors worldwide.
In a world challenged by large-scale waste, it is refreshing to see sustainable artwork being produced. When we commissioned our friend Gary Ateyo to create a 3-metre sculpture it took him over a year to source the relevant parts. Fortunately, Jordan Sprigg lives on his family farm so components for his artworks are more readily available. However, it still takes an enormous amount of ingenuity to construct works of this calibre. Inspiration comes from the animal kingdom and subjects include horses, bulls, fish, dragons, birds, frogs, insects etc.
Not surprisingly Jordan Sprigg artworks are in high demand and sell ridiculously quickly. A few years ago I wrote an article about the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) just outside Hobart in Tasmania. The highlight of this amazing art gallery was the overall architecture and external sculpture, constructed from Cor-ten Steel. Certainly, I could imagine Jordan Sprigg exhibiting here in the very near future and potentially on a global stage.