"'Blue Lena', the favourite ride of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, is for sale at auction at the Goodwood Revival in September. According to Bonhams the beautiful blue Bentley S3 Continental 'Flying Spur', which Richards bought new from dealer HR "
Steven Laurie & the Art of the Motor
My work consists of designing and fabricating functional homebrew prototype machines, handheld power tools and site-specific installation projects. Crossing the traditional disciplines of performance art, kinetic sculpture and mark-making, I develop tradeshow style displays and tool demonstrations that pare down subversive activities like burning rubber, engine revving and subwoofer thumping to a form of sub-cultural utterance.
It’s from a personal connection to a blue-collar lifestyle that my artwork hints towards pastime activities like customization, modification and maintenance as insightful moments of spatial production and cultural expression.
I am curious to the function of this mechanical ‘squawk’ and it’s connection to working-class cultural kinship. Considered by some people as “hyper-masculine” or “boy art”, my work provokes discourse around ideas of class based masculine identity through the material choices and reinforcement of automotive / technological horseplay.
The reading(s) of the machine work and public projects I develop cannot avoid being affected by technological, political and economic change. Designing machines with the soul purpose of paring down cultural practices like burning rubber and engine revving to a quasi utility is bound to attract both negative and positive criticism.
The images I am using in the Branding Iron project are derived from a range of sources, which include popular tattoos, automotive decals, branded accessories and iron-on imagery.
Riding both an iconic and nostalgic subtext, these silhouette images for the most part point toward some of the interests shared amongst blue-collar and working-class subcultures. Even though these images conjure up a “dated” and overshadowed approach to mechanical muscle, they still share the sense of loyalty seen in contemporary forms of horsepower pushing and customization.
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