Local artist, Sean Lafferty, came to the ReBuilding Center with the simple desire to get involved. As an artist who lives in the area and who enjoys incorporating salvaged materials as much as he can in to his work, the ReBuilding Center has always been on his radar. Initially applying for an internship position, Dave Lowe, the Volunteer Services Manager, sat down with Sean to gain a better understanding of what Sean would like to do. Following this conversation, the two decided to make use of Sean’s artistic talents in the woodshop and thus began an apprenticeship with ReBuilding Center’s skilled frame-maker, Chris Lambert. After learning the art, working with the old-growth wood, Sean created his own beautiful frames for his artwork to show in the Pancakes and Booze art show that took place last Friday, June 10th where I was able to chat with Sean about his work.
Sean’s says a desire to keep Mother Earth healthy has inspired a passion for reuse. He was influenced at an early age by his father, an engineer, who built an electric car in the 1970’s. In the past he has used cardboard and paint pens as a medium and consistently tries to incorporate reused and natural materials in his work. Sean recalls an early encounter he had incorporating salvaged materials into his art: he found some chip board at a construction dump, took it home and cut it into a frame for one of his pieces on cardboard and finished it off with some used plexiglass. About his aesthetic, Sean says, “used material adds another element of earth and another element of existence.” Sean believes that sometimes the most creative things come from being confined by the materials themselves - it throws something into the process that the artist has to work around to complete their vision and make something beautiful.
Although Sean had some experience as a kid in his family’s woodshop, he claims to have no real wood working experience prior to coming to the ReBuilding Center. Partnering with Chris Lambert, Salvaged Specialist at the ReBuilding Center, Sean was taught everything from the ground up about woodworking and building frames. All the pieces at the Pancakes and Booze art show feature his artwork in pigmented Indian ink and is showcased in these reused frames. Sean shared how Indian ink presents its own challenges because it must be diluted with water to get the desired shade of a particular color.
Sean featured seven different pieces in the Pancakes and Booze art show, most of them depicting different species of trees. Sean explained that the work featured in the art show honed in on two specific topics: “personal change” and “the development of an idea.” For example, the piece of the butterfly undergoing metamorphism represents the process of turning into one’s most fully realized self. In Sean’s tree species series, you can see a seed at the root of each tree. From each seed a massive life form flourishes, which represents the initial “seed” of an idea planted in your mind as it grows into its full potential.
This event marked Sean’s third Pancakes and Booze show where he has shown his artwork. Pancakes and Booze is one of the largest pop-up underground art showcases in the country. The event occurs every six months or so and has taken place in over fifteen cities across the nation with the aim to give local artists a pedestal to feature their art outside of the corporate structure.