Tin Art

There’s a relationship between my painting and cartooning and the tin art that’s really fertile and exciting. Working with tin I get inspired by colors and patterns that already exist. The process is a constant search and discovery of just the right tin color and texture to represent its component in the art. A tin Santa suit can become mountains at sunset – it’s constantly surprising.

It started January 2003. I’d built a workshop in my backyard to do 3-D art – I wanted to make physical art again after years of working in Photoshop and hiring people to illustrate things as an art director. It started when I began building birdhouses out in the workshop and got some tin to clad them to make them weatherproof. And then I noticed how great it looked, and I saw I could use the tin to make images. I started sourcing tin from second-hand shops and harvesting letters off cars in wrecking yards – the letters and bits of words talked to me. 

The pieces sold immediately – it really blew up, giving me the opportunity to build relationships with some wonderful gallery owners around the country, and with a whole online community of tin artists on Tinsmiths (a private Facebook group). About a year in I got to know the work of Tony Berlant, the Michelangelo of tin. I’ve made more than 1200 pieces, and they’re now all over the world. Some of my innovations include tin landscapes and the use of magnets, mirrors, and lenticular images.

The pandemic brought a halt to all of that. Temporary? Hard to say.