Trash, Tools and Delusions of Grandeur
If you’ve been to the Harrison Center in the last few years and found yourself walking the long hallway on the lower level of the building, you may have noticed, hanging from the ceiling, figures formed from copper wire dangling precariously from an assortment of salvaged construction materials – pipes, lightbulbs, bricks, etc. These creations are the work of Harrison Center artist, Chad Campbell. His new body of work, “Trash, Tools and Delusions of Grandeur,” is on display in Hank & Dolly’s through January 31st. We spoke with Chad recently to learn more about his process and his current exhibit.
A native of Huntington, Indiana, Campbell moved to Indianapolis 8 years ago. He says he has been making art for nearly 20 years, noting that he was always interested in art, but didn’t like art classes. Interestingly, his passion for found object assemblage and particularly, mobiles, came about from his experience working as a “rigger” on construction sites. He describes how he used to “fly pipes” and how balance came into play when connecting heavy pieces of material to be lifted by crane to the top of structures on the jobsite. This is also where he gained access to and began working with scrap construction materials. He jokes that this was a natural progression from creating art out of junk foraged from his parents’ basement.
Hang in There
His current show uses some of the same building materials we have seen in past work, but he is also starting to incorporate new objects like readily available discarded electronic components. He describes his work as depicting fundamentals of human nature and says his assemblages illustrate the struggles we experience as we collect things and ideals over a lifetime that lead to misunderstanding and strife. He explains, “Recognizing what needs to be left behind is what moves you toward becoming what you are meant to be -- your essence. But it’s the turmoil that strips you down to the bare essentials and helps you to move forward.”
Campbell says that he works with the materials that are available and uses what he has access to to recreate what is in his head. He rarely seeks out a specific object or material first and finds working with his hands and the balance aspect of his mobile pieces particularly satisfying.
Trash, Tools and Delusions of Grandeur can be seen in Hank & Dolly’s Gallery Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. The work hangs through January 31st.