I stumbled upon this unique art form while pursuing my long time hobby of silver smithing. While designing a pin, I substituted a piece of red aluminum from a Coca Cola can to help me better visualize the completed piece that was to hold a red stone which I hadn't as yet procured. It was then that I realized there were practically unlimited colors and shades of colors printed on soda and beer cans. How about using them as a palette for 'painting' mosaic pictures?
The first attempts were geometric designs which were pleasing to look at but not creative. They did, however, school me in the importance of finding the right cans and learning how to cut them up effectively. I also discovered what sort of nails to use and what tools were needed. Over time, my pictures have evolved to the point where each one is a separate challenge and a separate learning experience.
As with many artists, the subject decision is often the most difficult part of the project. In my case, it's a labor in which I'll be involved for a few months, so I try to select subjects which will keep me happy. I usually photograph a thing or place of interest and work from the photos. Occasionally I will make sketches off the top of my head and work them out. I then check my stock of colors and fill in any I might need for the picture in mind. I first wash out the cans, cut them apart and dispose of logos, lettering and anything not needed. All scrap is saved for recycling. The picture is drawn on a pine board which has been cut to a predetermined size. I then start nailing the appropriate pieces of aluminum to the board using 5/8" galvanized nails. The average picture takes between 75 and 125 hours of work . This usually translates into two to three months.
Because of an eye injury, I was forced to give up my silver smithing about a year ago and now devote my spare time to my Soda Pop Art. I don't get the instant gratification that I did with my jewelry when I could complete a ring or bracelet in one or two sessions, but I do get a deeper satisfaction upon completing a picture on which I've devoted a couple of months of my time and creative energy. From the comments that I've gotten at each of my shows, it appears that my work both pleases and fascinates. What more could an artist desire?
I hope you enjoy looking at my pictures as much as I enjoy creating them.