I now work many hours at two jobs. One of them is to develop approaches to environmental assessment and remediation of contaminated water. Industrialization, agriculture, oil exploration, spills put water resources and peoples’ health at risk. My second job is to express environmental and social themes through visual art. Surficially at odds, the heart of each job lies within the other. Inside science and engineering is the need to create, and inside art lays the need to express ideas. Although constrained differently, expressed differently, perceived differently, they are the same in their heart.
Personal history led me to a primary art form: tooled leather. Leather tooling is primarily practiced as a fine craft which sees its highest expression in western gear. I extend it by expressing contemporary environmental and social themes of my greatest concern. Then I extend tooled leather further by using it in relief printing. Much of this is still experimental and the results have often been unexpected.
As an artist, my visual expression seeks both to honor history and escape from it. My leather-tooling style deliberately breaks tradition. I distort traditional western floral tooling to express the lives of plants. I ask if the coyote has a place in the oil field, which might be an inconvenient question to those who hate varmints and love industry. My use of leather as a printmaking plate is unexpected and requires adaptation of both tooling and printmaking. Is the varmint in the pasture howling or crying out? Nature and history has constrained the present in ways hidden and obvious. Politics appear to be at their nadir. Yet there remains hope in the lightning strike, that the best future history will be unpredictable.
For more information email jimweaver1390 “at” yahoo.com
Copyright 2017 James W. Weaver All Rights Reserved.