Talking Bricolage and Switzerland
If you haven’t heard of renowned sculptor / artist / ex-janitor Tom Sachs, let me fill you in. Sachs was born in New York in 1966, known for his reconstruction of American objects and products, such as the McDonald's restaurant or his various space programs in which he replicates iconic space ventures through sculptures to give ordinary people the feeling of explorers. I think what amazes me and intrigues me most about his work is the way that - right from the start - he chooses to approach sculpture with sincerity and exposure, using recycled materials to define his style, and creating his works using the mixed media through the process of bricolage.
His works are often humorous and regularly questionable, with hilariously mischievous works such as the Chanel chainsaw or the Prada guillotine often catching the interest of mainstream news headlines. There’s certainly a deeper meaning to his work, but to start anybody off on his work, you need to appreciate the aesthetically challenging style of his sculptures, become comfortable with being uncomfortable. A good place to start would be his YouTube channel.
I managed to get through all of Tom’s videos on his YouTube channel within one night, and since rewatched them multiple times. For instance, in his informational studio series, “Ten Bullets”, directed by Van Neistat, Sachs and his team fill you in on a set of rules which must be followed if
you’re to work in the Tom Sachs studio. Applying these rules to a lot of job related circumstances can contribute to creating a truly peaceful and efficient workplace. I personally learnt a lot from the “Personal Space” rule, and force myself to keep a clean and prepared workstation so that I can work whenever I need to. One of the most beautiful things about his videos, though, is the attention to detail in the studio, for instance when his team go into persistent and intriguing detail about exactly which colour of paint they use for different situations in the movie “Colors”.
The thing that I find appealing about the movies “Colors” and “Ten Bullets” is that they reference Tom’s studio, which is one of the most aesthetically and pragmatically pleasing studios that I’ve ever seen, considered a work of art by many admirers, and rightly so. Just as much time, if not more, is spent on the rules of the studio and making sure that everything can work correctly, so that the sculptures and works that Tom creates can be made as efficiently as possible. The harmony of the studio seems incredibly beautiful to me.
If you’re like me, you’ll watch one of Tom’s videos and immediately watch the rest of them without hesitation, but if you’re not, I’ll break down his style. His videos are all entirely filmed on pretty crappy cameras. There’s a lot of noise in every shot, and I’m not talking grain (although there’s that too), I mean his walls are literally filled to the brim with tools - saws, drills, boxes full of shit, anything you can think of. And for some reason, this noise, makes my brain extremely happy. I’ve peppered some pictures to hopefully inspire you to stay up all night and watch the entire Tom Sachs library over on YouTube, it’s worth it.
You can find Tom’s website here, with all the links to his projects: www.tomsachs.com
Some interesting videos you should check out if you’re interested:
Questlove and Tom Sachs in Conversation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXStPfmDrXI
At 1:43 is what motivates me to keep going whenever I need it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftXf6xB5XjM&t=521s there’s a cat in the video too.
A massive thank you to the amazing Emma Seager for helping me edit this second issue!
Thanks for reading, I’ll catch you soon.