Artist Statement – Crashed Furniture
David Lee Moneypenny
The Crashed Furniture Series is created by combining twisted metal with salvaged wood and found, re-purposed, or raw materials. They are a synthesis of art, design, and function. The materials are highly refined by manipulation, sculpting, and polishing to bring out the beauty of their previous lives. I give them a new identity and purpose. These materials now have a voice.
The primary design element evolves from the mangled pieces of metal, and with a little bit of ingenuity, some wit and a lot of creative craftsmanship, I turn these unconventional art materials into real art furniture. In an instant, a mass-produced piece of design art is transformed into a free-form organic piece of sculpture because of the life event. It now becomes art. The design world created it and the art world defines it.
There has always been a rub between the art world and the design world. The Crashed Furniture series bridges this age-old divide. These pieces of functional art have one foot in the art world and one foot in the design world. I come at it from an artist’s perspective and tap into my furniture-maker skills to make found sculptures into functional pieces of art.
The challenge is to make vastly different materials coexist within the same structure. These materials are forced together, creating an uneasy relationship. The pieces have an out-of-order look of objects not in their proper place. I like that look. It forces you to think about what could be from things that do not belong together. A single object takes on a completely different presence when combined with, or attached to, other unlike materials. I prefer to use materials that show the scars of their past lives. Discarded materials get a new life as part of a unique structure.
I do not use a clean sheet of paper for the design. I have something much more interesting, a free form sculpture that was created by an auto impact. When choosing a crumpled auto part, the shape is what grabs my attention. The furniture grows from the destroyed auto parts, and I incorporate some of the auto designer’s lines into the new structure. These angles, ellipses, and curves will be repeated throughout the piece. The new pieces still retain their industrial past within each one-of-a-kind art sculpture. In the curve of a salvaged fender, almost instantly, I see the arm of an overstuffed chair while a mangled truck wheel-well becomes a table base.
The Crashed Furniture pieces draw people in to interact with the art in a new way, art as functional sculptural furnishings. Traditionally art is not meant to be touched, but these unorthodox pieces challenge the viewer to redefine what art is and urges their interaction. Although my intent is art first and furniture second, these pieces are to be used. The viewer is drawn in to explore, not only the materials, but how the wood is formed to follow the curve of the crashed metal. Sitting on a bench made from a crumpled truck bumper and some worm-eaten discarded flooring is so much better than a chair stamped out in China.