Artist: Nick Bamford
Media: Sculptures made of random materials
Gallery: Gatov Gallery East
Nick Bamford is an undergraduate student in his last semester here at CSULB. He is a member of the Ceramics program in CSULB’s School of Art, but his work expands beyond just the media of ceramic. During his senior year of high school, he took a ceramics class and fell in love, which made him decide to be a ceramics major. After he finishes his undergrad he wants to go to either UCLA, BCU, or Yale in order to get a Masters degree in sculpting. Art making in general is his main hobby, whether it be ceramics, sculpting, painting, etc. he loves to do it. Aside from art, he doesn’t have many other interests, but he fills his time with work at Home Depot, which non-coincidentally supplies his random materials for sculpting. His work implores the ideas of self-evaluation, as each viewer can take a different viewpoint on his artwork.
All of the work in this particular gallery consisted of tall, skinny, alien-esque sculptures with no particular shape or color scheme. It looked like a bunch of random construction materials stapled, glued, and taped together without any specific pattern or means of natural shape, and that’s exactly how it was made. He receives a lot of material from the Home Depot he works at, and most of it is garbage and low grade construction material. From a plastic arm, to a birdcage, an upside down stool, to half a poster board, Nick will find a way to manipulate it and make it work with the surrounding material. There was a blacklight on in the room which gave an eerie yet futuristic look to his work, and he purposefully used materials that he knew would glow in the blacklight. The sculptures are very jagged in shape, and rugged in appearance, but the randomness actually comes together to make some interesting pieces. The work is relatively large in the dimensions of the gallery, standing about 7-8 feet tall and varying in width less than 4 feet.
When asked about the meaning of his work, he laughed and struggled to come up with a solid answer. He eventually settled on telling me that he had created the work 5 days ago, and said that most of the work is random and has no specific meaning. The fact that his work isn’t about anything in specific, it does not hinder its ability to mean something to a viewer. The artist stressed the importance of realizing that art is all subjective in the sense that one person can view a sculpture or painting differently than another person even if the artist intended it to mean something in specific. People only connect with things that are relevant to their life, and art is a way for people to make their own connections to a piece regardless of if that was the artists’ intention. He enjoys the process more than the final product, because people concern themselves too much with the final piece and its meaning, rather than just enjoying the work. Also, his process of sculpting is a very entertaining procedure, including nail guns and destroying old Home Depot trash.
As the artist said, all work is subjective, so regardless of what Nick’s intentions were for his work, I think it is exploring the idea of the future of art. As time passes, humans have evolved more and more, and so has our art. There are still your standard paintings and sculptures but nowadays we have visual media like movies, graphic design, as well as the art of architecture, which is an overlooked art form. Sculptures like Nick’s are the way of the future, such that the artist tries to incorporate modern day technology to his work (blacklight, old light-up materials). The artist himself stated that he was trying to experiment with special effects, which is an untapped media that will most likely one day be uncovered by some futuristic form of visual media. Our world grows more and more dependent on technology, so it is pleasing to see that manual sculpting and painting is still present in our society. However, the incorporation of technology with the creation of sculptures and other forms of physical art are the way of the future, as shown by the artists’ creation.