Finders Keepers: Cam Scott
Don’t leave any valuable materials lying around because if this next guy finds it he’ll probably take it home and turn it into his next art project – which isn’t actually a bad thing, so maybe do leave your stuff out... Sourcing materials from the surrounding environment, council clean ups, or anything that happens to be sitting on the side of the road, Cam Scott gives life to once discarded materials and turns them into… well anything.
For those who do not know you, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and what it is that you do?
I'm 22, studying at COFA / UNSW, living in Redfern and just really enjoy making things. I remember catching the bug as little kid - throwing together little styrofoam sailboats and almost pissing myself with excitement when I first saw them bob along - so I've pretty much been chasing that same sense of satisfaction ever since. I have always made things using whatever I can find lying around but this fondness for found materials has become my main driving force / a little bit of an addiction. (Council clean-up is my crack) Creating a new use for these discarded items makes me pretty damn happy and is something I try to do in all my work. I guess it’s pretty obvious in the furniture I make but the fine art side of things is very much the same. I've worked with all kinds of mediums but right now I'm really into printing, especially silkscreen on transparent materials like glass and perspex. After printing onto old car windows last year for the COFA annual, I've kind of become obsessed with portraiture lately and the different shadows these transparent prints can cast.
Do you think your work reflects an interaction with your external environment, or is it more of a representation of internal states?
Bit of both, mostly. Using materials found on Sydney streets means all my work is going to reflect the urban / suburban environment that discarded it in some way. I reckon you can really get a feel for an area by looking at what’s left on the side of the road and this is something I try to reciprocate in my more public works. In terms of internal states, a lot of my earlier work used to be tightly linked to my mood and main concerns at the time of conception. Yet, now that I’m dabbling in portraiture, it’s more focused on the sitter – representing their 'internal states'. I use to get pretty frustrated with portraits and their limitations in representing the individual as a whole. I guess that’s why I’ve come to work with transparency. The differing shadows that are cast reference how multifaceted we all really are and allow me to feel comfortable with this partial representation.
What is the process of creating a portrait / what does it involve?
It all pretty much revolves around playing with light and shadow. The process usually starts photographically, trying to capture as many different perspectives through as many lighting scenarios as possible. This gives me more room when creating a stencil to print from because even tiny changes in lighting can alter the sitters shadows and effect the end result. Depending on how I'm going to print, I then reduce these images to positives / negatives through a mixture of physical and digital manipulation. I'm mostly screen printing lately so it’s a matter of applying the chosen stencil to the screen and then figuring out the best way to print. (Not always easy when working with things I find on the side of the road but I enjoy the problem solving side of things.) Even after printing, I still get to have some fun because the different shadows cast by my transparent prints mean they're always changing in some way. It's a fiddly process sometimes but I enjoy it.
Do you have any influences, national or international?
Definitely. I feel like I can't walk down the street without being influenced by something these days. The consistently awesome work being made in Sydney gets me pretty excited and always affects me in some way. (Let alone all the inspiring stuff you can see going down in other parts of the world online) But that’s not very specific so I’ll mention my man, Robert Rauschenberg. I’ve always loved his work but a while ago I was lucky enough to guard and give tours on one of his final series, ‘The Gluts’ – definitely worth a Google. Really solidified my passion for found materials and gave me the confidence to use them in a fine art context.
Do you have any favourite spots to hang out in Sydney?
I spent a massive amount of my younger years in the waves at Tamarama. I don’t get as much water-time as I used to but I’ll always love it down at Tama. I’m currently living a couple houses away from the Norfolk Hotel now so I’m spending a bit more time beering there instead. Great pub.
Uni–wise, I’ll probably finish off this degree and then go back to COFA for honours. Otherwise, I’d like to do a bit more travelling and just keep making things. It’s getting pretty tough working out of home so I’ll probably start looking for a space soon. If anyone out there has anything available, please let me know. Seriously, an unused garage, a shed, an empty crackden – it can all be put to good use.
To see more of Cam and what he does, check out these videos of him in action