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Interactive and Unbreakable: The Sculpture of Brian Rumping

By Brian Rumping

My art began as a desire to make things interactive, and unbreakable. That’s why I use cold assembly, which means I don’t weld or solder anything. If it comes apart, you can just tighten a few screws, and all is good. My pieces started out a lot bigger, and heavier. I used a lot of larger cast iron bits. Mostly for outdoor sculpture. I’ve made sundials, fire pits, and bird baths. Before my mom’s dad passed away, I used a lot of wire to accomplish my goals. After he passed, I raided his barn, and found a plethora of small metal bits of all kinds, and hardware galore. I’m so glad he was a hoarder. That’s when the real obsession began. I couldn’t have enough junk. Ask my wife. I started taking apart typewriters after buying about ten sewing machines. The sewing machines were good, but the typewriters are where it’s at. My favorite is the IBM selectric II. It has over 2800 parts, and takes me about four hours to totally disassemble. After which I just sit in front of a pile of parts, and start putting things together. Sometimes I have an idea of what I want to make. Then other times ideas are spawned from one piece in particular. There are very few parts that have a twin, which makes symmetry very difficult. So I usually take apart two machines at the same time so I have matching parts. I very rarely modify the parts. They are made from hardened steel, which makes them very hard to drill. So I typically use the holes that were manufactured in them. I go through a lot of trial and error. Sometimes I end up totally taking a piece apart, and starting over.

I don’t know what I’m going to do when I can no longer find typewriters. Hopefully I’ll have a big enough inventory to keep me working, or I can find something else to take apart. For now I can usually find one or two in a day of thrift shopping or hitting garage sales.

I have aspirations of motorizing my sculpture, and building on a much larger scale. I love what I do, and I think about new ideas constantly. I have just recently moved to the Charlotte, NC area and have met some great people. The art community is great around here. I’m looking forward to spreading my work around.

See more of Brian’s work at his Facebook Fan page and Instagram.

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