Turning Trash into Treasure with Folk Artist Alan Moore

In mid April I visited Folk Artist Alan Moore’s home studio to witness his
process and meet his amazingly artistic family.  I arrived just as Alan was gathering materials for us to work with.  His two oldest daughters, Isabella (11) and Emma (8), came out to greet me.  Creativity must be in the Moore genes, because these beautiful and talented girls have their own line of art that is exhibited and nationally collected.  Today, their role was garden tour guide while their father finished setting up for our studio session.

The girls walked me through their tiered garden naming the vegetables along the way.  They told me that each year the garden gets a little bigger and that this year they started planting along the fence line.  As we neared the end of our tour, I noticed an accumulation of old building materials; pieces of tin, wood, and steal.  This is the Moore Family Junk Yard.  It is refuse Alan picks up on construction sites or the side of the road.  We rounded the corner, leaving the junk yard and returning to the studio where Alan and two of his other children, Aidan (6) and Liam (4), were waiting to transform junk into art!

The Moore children sketched designs featuring birds, which are my favorite subject to draw, and of course, ninjas.  Who doesn’t love a good ninja?  I know I do.  The drawings were done on metal that Alan cuts out for them.  The kids then paint the metal birds and ninjas with bright colors.  As everyone worked on their pieces I snooped around Alan’s studio and discovered an amazing collection of vintage cans and bottle caps.

I asked Alan about the origin of his collection of vintage cans.  He told me, “My work has always included recycled materials. From painting old barns before they are torn down to finding refuse and creating with it.  In the past year I have
become very interested in working with color without using paint.  This means I find materials like old red rider wagons or weathered wood and work with the colors that are already there to create my compositions.  Recently I have found an array of colors in buttons, old tape measures, bottle tops and old steel cans.  I find the steel cans and bottle tops the most exciting.  I can assemble them into anything.”

I wanted to know where he was getting all the old steel cans.  These are not the kind of cans one finds laying around.  He told me he gets a lot of them from EBay, thrift stores or estate sales.  As an artist, I find it very curious and kind of exciting looking at all the cans and bottle tops.  These objects have literally become his paint.  Instead of going to the art supply store to pick up canvas and colors Alan sifts through old thrift stores and EBay sights for his medium.

As Alan and I talked about his work, the kids painted and ran around the yard playing.  Around 5:30 Alan’s lovely wife, Lori, came into the studio with their youngest boy, Kian (1), and let us know dinner was ready. We finished up our pieces and headed inside for Taco Night.  Lori prepared a delicious and well-balanced meal and I was excited to be a member of the family, even if only for one night.  We all held hands as Isabella said grace.  We chatted about the family while we ate.  Lori told me about her experiences home-schooling the kids, working inside the home while Alan holds down a day job along with creating his extensive body of work.  They are an amazing team giving so much to our community through their children and their art!  Thank you Moore Family for allowing me the opportunity to share in the fun.

For more information about Alan up coming show show that opens March 25th, 2012 at the Full Circle Gallery visit the website www.fullcirclefwb.com.  To find out more about the Moore family check out these links:  www.themoorefamilyfolkart.comfolkartistalanmoore or sweettatersjunkyardart.

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