I don’t know when this peach-colored brick was born, but for decades it was pressed into service as a stone in a backyard grill in Santa Monica. After the Northridge earthquake, it collapsed into a pile of bricks, where it sat for two decades. Then the daughter of the man who built the grill heard of my Untitled Mosaic Brick Project and brought it to me in a box with a bunch of other nicely aged pieces. The gnarled dark colored bricks were part of a geometrically impaired flower bed I wanted to put a sledgehammer to the minute we bought the house. It took a decade, but I got around to it.
Almost everything in this tableau is recycled. The bamboo came from a yard down the block. They were in the process of poisoning it all, who knows why. I dug it up in clumps and wheelbarrowed it over. The succulents were pullings from another neighbor.
Some of these concrete pieces came from a condemned gas station on Roscoe Blvd. Others from various buildings sites around the Valley. All with the irresistible price point.
The wood in the gate and the trellising was plucked from a dumpster behind a granite yard on Raymer Street.
Dumpsters, really? Why? Cause Mr. UpintheValley was broke AF not so long ago. These hardwoods, from Brazil and India, were once part of the crating for granite slabs. They had non-conforming sizing and a wonderful texture and cost nothing. Even the latch on the other side of the door was made from leftover copper piping from when I re-plumbed the house. Also the hinges, on closer observation, were once part of something else.
Perhaps the distance between myself and the Favela can be measured in a smack habit and a mortgage. We cover a lot of the same ground. We salvage and repurpose things.
Methinks the joy of saving money, no longer a necessity, is eclipsed by something more primal. Hunting and gathering. Squatting on my haunches in the sun, breaking and re-shaping things with hand tools. Creating something from spare parts that will be unique and has no other author.