An interactive and strangely-appropriate sculpture by scrap metal artist Adrian Worsley is set to pull them in at this year’s GrainCorp Feeds stand at National Fieldays.
Everything about the work seems suitably rustic. Drawing on Adrian’s sassy “number 8 wire” approach, it has been crafted from a marriage of odds and sods, discarded bits and pieces joined as one to tell a different story – in this instance, referencing the increasing popularity of molasses as a dairy feed supplement.
The sculpture’s plump belly is an old 44-gallon drum, now a lively, lacquered shade of blue, with a neat curved door cut into it. Welded to its top is an old car tyre rim turned sink, with a well-used pump from another old drum standing proud to one side. A set of standard sink taps sit alongside, and the entire artwork sits astride an old sack trolley made all the more beautiful through the use of old timber power poles as cross arms. Topping it off is an old manhole cover from a ‘Servex’ gas station.
The sculpture has a value of around $7,500 on it and has taken around a week’s hard toil to put together.
Not only does it look weirdly attractive, but the sculpture’s curiously mismatched parts are both mobile and robustly functional. The plan at the GrainCorp stand is to have molasses pumped up from its belly to an outlet pipe overhanging the sink, giving onlookers an opportunity not only to see the molasses flow, but also to taste it should they wish to.
So where do the taps fit in?
According to Adrian, those belong to the sculpture’s post-Fieldays afterlife. “Whoever wins the sculpture will be able to use it at home or at work, perhaps in their man or woman-cave! It can be plumbed in to the water supply anywhere and used as a working sink.”
That give-away feature is an important part of the bigger picture, explained GrainCorp marketing manager Angela Ryan. Once Fieldays closes, the sculpture will go home with whoever wins a draw made up of the names of visitors who sign a feed contract with the company.
GrainCorp commissioned Adrian to do a centrepiece for its Fieldays stand this year after hearing about the work he has done over the years using scrap metal.
“We haven’t used art in this way before, but we were certain the rustic feel of Adrian’s work would allow us to display molasses in a completely different way,” she said.
“GrainCorp has only this year started importing molasses directly and delivering it nationwide to farmers. Our site at Fieldays this year is primarily around showcasing the changes around molasses and promoting its key benefits as a supplementary feed option. It will also look at the changes to the industry with regards to the Fat Evaluation Index (FEI), and how we plan to proactively partner with our clients to help manage their FEI this season.”
The brief given to the artist was relatively simple - to come up a sculpture that would serve to illustrate those changes in a fun and interactive way.
Its genius is typical of Adrian’s award-winning style. His love of crafting something useful or beautiful out of scraps goes back to his childhood.
“My dad used to collect stuff and repair things; he had a basement full of bits and pieces, scrap steel, timber, anything really,” he said. “I used it to make thing … trolleys and push bikes. That’s where it started.”
After leaving school, he went farming then did a spot of engineering before setting himself up in a business that blended steel and timber in such a way that it became popular both in construction and design. He spent eight years working in Queenstown, then elected for lifestyle over profit and decided to turn his occupation into an art form. Never one to follow the strictures imposed by society, the self-taught artist started making artwork for cafes and bars. Unsurprisingly, it has taken off beyond his imaginings, and commissions now form the bulk of his work in Te Aroha, many of them for a corporate clientele.
Adrian’s largest work has recently been in the news; a stupendous 2.8m tall, 1.9 tonne transformer-style bull, commissioned by Taylor Corporation for its Napier headquarters. He’s done birds, kids’ toys and copper corsets, but like the scrap metal motorbike which was his first ‘sculpture’, the horses and other animals he has done, giving a nod to ‘grunt’ is always at the forefront of his mind.
“I’m passionate about things that have grunt,” he said, “things that depict strength and utility. They have a special beauty about them.”
PICTURED ABOVE: Scrap metal artist Adrian Worsley with his interactive sculpture for the GrainCorp Feeds stand at Fieldays