elevateNV
Aug 23 2019 . 3 min read
clayton-blake

Clayton Blake

Clayton Blake

The Art of Perpetual Consumption

The Art of Perpetual Consumption

At first glance they look like giant metal wheels meant for some high-level industrial machination. It’s not until you peer closer that you realize artist Clayton Blake has made the mundane functionality of shopping carts into a mesmerizing sculpture. 

Blake makes art by adapting everyday objects to specific artistic and architectural applications. “I try to use ordinary accessible items (shopping carts) to create large scale, contemporary installations that challenge and excite,” says Blake, 49. “My goal is to construct expansive works that respond to or reflect their environments, whilst challenging and distorting the viewer’s preconceptions of structures and space.”

Experimenting with shopping carts for some time, Blake was drawn to the medium because it’s “available globally which allows me the opportunity to build art internationally whilst sourcing materials locally. It also avoids the substantial costs associated with shipping materials from my studio in Queensland Australia.”

As for concentrating on the creation of large-scale public art pieces, Blake believes they attract a larger audience which in turn provides a powerful platform to make a difference. “Art and activism go hand in hand. My art gives me a voice to affect change and shine a light on important social issues,” says Blake. “I attempt to expand the definition of art to include new forms of social engagement. I use art to promote discussion, encourage debate, and raise awareness about injustice, inequality and social change.”

This philosophy is prominently on display in the 108-cart Perpetual Consumption currently residing on Nipton’s Art Walk, which Blake says, “is a comment on the never-ending cycle of consumerism we are exposed to. The aim is to encourage debate and raise awareness about what we consume and the motivation around why we consume.”

Blake is pleased Perpetual Consumption has now found a home at Nipton albeit temporary. The sculpture was originally constructed over five days for Burning Man. “Burning Man is my artistic Everest. It is the most challenging environment imaginable with no power, no water, no shelter. Everything must be considered and transported to the event prior to the build. There is not the luxury of a hardware store close by if you run out of supplies,” Blake says of the sculpture which took 12 months to plan and concept. “The greater the challenge, the higher the risk, (and if successful) the greater the reward and satisfaction.” 


Blake is currently working on three large projects in Australia plus a commission for Meow Wolf (Las Vegas). Blake is also preparing for Beakerhead (Canada), Burning Man 2019 (Nevada), Bread&Circus (New Zealand) and Rainbow Serpent (Victoria). claytonblake.com


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