artist of the day #8: Ken Butler

One of the cool things I am enjoying about living in New York is the fact that I can be walking around an area I haven’t been in too much, and I can stumble across an Art gallery. This happened to me a few weeks ago in Williamsburg where I got introduced to the work of Ken Butler. On display was a series of his found object sculptures. Each piece seemed to represent a certain color scheme and rhythm.

A question that tends to hit me early on with most artists’ work the first time I come across it, is “How?” This definitely happened with Butler’s work. It is easy enough to recognize the various objects, but to understand how he made them all fit together is a little more difficult. He is obviously someone who has been doing this for a while. It is not just a bunch of random objects Gorilla-Glued to a piece of scrap wood. This was careful placement and crafted work.

After closer inspection of the works, I began to notice there seemed to be a lot of pieces of musical instruments. This seemed peculiar to me, as I often thought one big attraction to using found objects was to keep it cheap. This wouldn’t seem possible if you are taking apart even the least expensive instruments. This made sense when the very talkative curator began to talk to us. He was very excited to tell us more about the artist. It turns out Ken Butler is a musician, and has become very well known for making found object instruments, many of which double as a sculpture.

What is he saying with all of this? I like to think he wants to say something about the artist and his tools. A bad artist blames his tools. A good artist can work with anything. And an innovator makes his own.

Check out his sight: http://www.mindspring.com/~kbhybrid/

Watch some videos of him playing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3hdeJdmpPw

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