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Will Davy

Will Davy, artist

I get inspired when I see examples of people challenging traditional ways of thinking, particularly toward building positively in an eco-friendly manner ...

In Short ...

It’s no secret that most Australians are habitually wasteful, not in the terms of littering (though we could certainly be better at picking up after ourselves) but rather when it comes to recycling household objects. When appliances break we tend to chuck them out with the rest of the household garbage, but in reality there are so many more options when it comes to dealing with waste. The Brisbane Recycling Art Competition looks at the creative potential of reusing and recycling furniture and household items in an inspiring way. Numerous artists from across Brisbane construct works of sculpture from bits and pieces they find in local tip shops, garage sales and markets, creating works of complex art from items that typically would never find another use. Will Davy is one of the skilled artists contributing to the Brisbane Recycling Art Competition, exhibiting a work for the third year running. We caught up with Will to talk about his artistic practice and the benefits of recycling for the purpose of art.

To start, we’d like you to take us back to the beginning! Where did your love of making things and expressing yourself through art originate?
My love of making things originated in Africa where I spent 35 years of my life. The culture of making beautiful things from every-day objects such as a tin can or a used car tyre, rubbed off on me. Traveling through Europe also influenced my thinking and I found the works of Antoni Gaudi very inspiring in that organic, elastic shapes were formed using traditional building materials. 

Throughout your career you’ve dabbled in model making, sculpture, animation and more. What do you love about being able to work across a variety of mediums?
I love being able to sketch down an idea and turn it into 3D reality with bits and pieces I discover in tip shops and markets. Creatively, I am not restricted to 2D or 3D – I am inspired by a combination of both still and kinetic artworks. 

Where do you draw creative inspiration for your work?
I draw inspiration from shapes found in nature, like a beetle’s carapace, for example. Also, I’m inspired by the boundless possibilities presented in science-fiction movies.

You are taking part in this year’s Brisbane Recycling Art Competition – your third year contributing! What initially made you want to get involved in such a project?
The desire to reduce and reuse in an inspiring way – to express myself whilst promoting the urgency of efficient recycling starting at home. I saw this as great opportunity to rewire the way the next generation perceives recycling.

What can you tell us about your piece this year – ‘Cable Harvester Bug’?
The concept sprung from one of nature’s great recyclers – the humble dung beetle which actively reduces and recycles as part of its life cycle. I simply gave it a new futuristic spin by recycling copper and steel cable.

Putting together the disparate materials must be a challenge! How long did the work take to create?
It is challenging and time consuming because the piece evolves depending on the material you find. The artwork is revealed through the juxtaposed shapes collected.

Where do you typically go to source materials for your art?
I resource the parts for my sculptures primarily from Brisbane City Council tip shops and garage sales and markets.

What makes creating art from recycled objects better than using new materials?
This is actively walking ‘the walk’ – practising what I preach so to speak. It’s great giving new life to otherwise discarded objects.-What’s the strangest object you’ve ever repurposed in your art?
Probably the giant, translucent hair-drying helmet – commonly used in hair dressing salons. This became the beetle’s abdomen!

What would you say is your career highlight to date?
My stop-frame animation work, which included modelling making for animation and set building for television.

Where would you most love to see your work displayed – what’s the big dream?
In everyday public spaces like parks, shopping squares and in the open elements.

What are you currently finding inspiring about the world around you?
I get inspired when I see examples of people challenging traditional ways of thinking, particularly toward building positively in an eco-friendly manner. For example, incorporating existing natural features into building design – like creeks and forests – not just levelling them and extinguishing species in the process.

You can check out the works at the Brisbane Recycling Art Competition until Saturday August 19 at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, and be sure to vote for your favourite Salvage artwork online or in person at the exhibition. Voting closes on Thursday August 10.

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