I am a collector. During my childhood I collected butterflies, seeds from trees, shells and other nature related items. Often I would make arrangement of these specimens for display. I still find natural items appealing and often incorporate them in my work. In my late 20’s I developed a fascination with rusted metal objects and I began to accumulate them. However, it wasn’t until my late 50’s, after my retirement, that I began to “make art” from my collections. I continue to collect and as my art evolves the type of objects I collect has changed.
I make “assemblages.” Some of my assemblages are intended for outside display as yard and garden adornments. Other assemblages are of a more whimsical nature and are intended for inside display. Many of my pieces are intended to amuse. I feel successful when I can elicit a laugh, giggle, or a smile. Although I come from a family of artists, I have no formal training in art (I taught child development at UCONN) and think of myself as working in the folk art tradition.
The vast majority of my work arises from inspiration generated by the objects themselves, rather than from a preconceived creative intention. Many of the pieces evolve when a particular orientation of an object or configuration of parts pleases my eye. Sometimes one object will stimulate my imagination and I find other objects to complete the evoked image. However, once an “accident” has occurred, it often generates other work that is more intentional. Many of my creations are a surprise to me, which is why I find this activity so much fun. The critical input of my wife, Delia Berlin, is important in many of my pieces.
My assemblages are held together by nuts, bolts and various types of adhesives. I do not weld but do occasionally have pieces welded by others. I use simple tools such as grinder, drill, sander, saws, and pipe benders. The pieces used in the assemblages are sometimes painted, sometimes rusted or oxidized, and sometimes coated with polyurethane.