Making tech trash into art, Eric Celarier creates fascinating works that spur conversation. He shares his portfolio and process.
ABI: Tell us about the materials you use in your artwork.
EC: Trash does not lie. It is indisputable testimony of what we actually do. There are almost two billion computers worldwide that are due to expire in the next five years. What we ultimately value will be born out in the products we use and discard. Given the nature of these materials, and our dependence on them, there are no easy solutions to the disposal of such waste. Granted our proximity to these systems, it seems counterintuitive that we would have so little contact with the physical inner workings of the machines that have reprogrammed our everyday lives.
I sew electronic garbage into tapestries that describe the history, variety and surplus of these units. My work allows the viewer access the aesthetics underneath the glass, plastic, and steel shells of some of our most commonplace appliances.
By juxtaposing contrasting boards, with special attention paid to the color, texture, and direction of each element, viewers are encouraged to compare the idiosyncrasies of each section. In order to warm the otherwise colder, electronic material, I wrap every piece in a frame of leather. The result is a quirky fabric that allows viewers to explore the repetition and complexity of these otherwise invisible, but mundane, materials.
ABI: How is your work evolving to offer collectors more options?
EC: Until recently, all the Wasteland Series works were rectangular. Reinforced with a leather-covered wooden border, these quadrilateral works have fixed dimensions.
Using the essentially the same aesthetics, I created a new series called the Network. These pieces have irregularly shaped edges. Each piece is bounded with a leather frame, allowing clients to acquire several pieces to fill any space. Each work interacts with each other and the wall, acting as an installation of sorts. In addition, the Network pieces are easier to alter allowing individual works to be altered quickly to fit patron’s orders.
ABI: Your series is titled “Wasteland”. How do people interpret that?
EC: There is no singular understanding of the title, Wasteland, or the work itself. The tapestries call to mind an aerial view made of trash. If seen as a map of a developed area, the thought that we are changing the environment or that we create artificial boundaries between one another cannot be too far behind. Some viewers conclude that the electronic detritus is an ecological hardship, while others find unsuspected beauty in the things we throw away.
ABI: What did you hope to achieve by creating this body of work?
EC: Some media speaks for itself. Bringing found materials to the public’s attention in a form that attracts interest and promotes personal interpretation is my primary focus. Many of the issues that surround waste do not have easy solutions. Like most people I have my own views on our place in the environment. I feel lucky that my work causes me to actively explore other perspectives.