Your eco-friendly creations have caught my attention. I am so wowed by your use of recycled materials to create lifelike sculptures. What inspired your transition from a mainstream artist to this new niche?
I was inspired to create recycled tire sculptures very randomly. In 2012 I passed a playground where truck tires were being used as a play structure. The tires were laid out to look like a dragon/serpent. From that image I got the idea to use tires as a medium for sculptures.
You choose animals as your main subject matter? What inspires your choice? Do you have a passion for nature?
I use animals for almost all of my sculptures. I am truly inspired by not only nature, but muscle structure. Tires actually depict different muscles extremely well. I use different treads to create the different layers of muscles. On many of my sculptures I reference the animals anatomy to try and create a sort of muscle flow to each animal.
Each piece you create is time-consuming and takes up to a month to complete. Can you tell me more about this creative process and your emotions surrounding the completion of a piece?
Sculptures on average take up to one month to complete. There is a lot of time and effort that go into each unique sculpture, and my favorite part about completing a sculpture is actually polishing up the recycled tires. Before they are polished, they are dirty, worn out, and do not have a very attractive appearance. By the simple task of polishing the tires completely transforms the sculpture from a heap of recycled tires into a finished one of a kind sculpture. It is my favorite part of every sculpture for sure.
Your drive is impressive. You are a professional baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays and an artist. Where do you find the time to follow your passions? What is your belief about success and the drive it takes to achieve dreams?
The great thing about being a professional baseball player and an artist is I have adequate time for both during each one’s offseason. I have a 5 month baseball off-season where I do the bulk of my artwork while also training for baseball. On the flip side I have a 7 month baseball season where I focus majority of the time on baseball, but also have time to plan my sculptures for the offseason. I believe time management is a huge part of my success. I am a person who loves constructive tasks. I enjoy the planning processes of my artwork during baseball season, and I also love that I can get away from artwork and go train in the gym when I am working on an art piece. I also have a drive for learning and getting better in both areas. I am always researching more unique ways of training for baseball, and also different ways of making sculptures. Never being content is key.
You are fearless when experimenting with mediums. You must feel content in your choice of eco-friendly mediums. Are there any other materials you see yourself working with in the future?
Right now people seem to really enjoy my tire sculptures. I am going to stick with working with tires for the next couple of years and then I may switch into other areas as well. I really like metal working and I think there can be some very unique things made from recycled metal parts. That could be a future area I decide to work in. Other than that, anything recycled is great to work with for me. Anytime I can transform garbage into something useful is a win for me!
You recently created two pieces for the 2017 Goodyear Cotton Bowl. How did this project come about and what inspired you to create those particular pieces?
The Goodyear sculptures for the 2016 Cotton Bowl were a lot of fun. Goodyear randomly emailed me and asked if it was something I would be interested in. Of course I told them YES! When making the sculptures we knew we were going to do each participating team’s mascots. The hardest part was actually trying to get my sketches approved by not only goodyear, but both schools as well. I was super excited to work with them and I think the sculptures came out great.
What is next for you on your creative journey? Do you have any upcoming projects you are looking forward to?
This is going to sound a bit weird, but one of the first art pieces I have planned for when I get home in September is a large octopus made out of tires. I think the tires could depict the octopus extremely well and could be one of my best pieces. I am pretty excited about it and hoping it turns out well. Other than that I will have a pretty busy offseason by doing some commissioned pieces that I am also excited about.