Handyman uncorks his arty passion
Safety Bay handyman-cum-artist Jeff Cork loves re-crafting junk into aesthetically pleasing and practical sculptures.
The single father of three is no ordinary dad and, for the fourth year in a row, will feature in the City of Rockingham Castaways Sculpture Awards this month.
The family residence is currently a work site, with Mr Cork having laid new timber floors, stripping back the kitchen and demolishing the back room in an effort to transform the 1970s house into a self-sufficient working studio and home.
Mr Cork said he set himself the momentous task to provide a comfortable space for his family, but also as an extension of his passion for art.
Having grown up with artistic parents who were talented at drawing, Mr Cork said he always loved creating things.
With a bricklayer father, Mr Cork grew up with an eye for solid building foundations and would often use his father’s cement to make statues.
Despite pursing art in school, Mr Cork found his way to a job in timber floor laying and wall plastering.
For the past four years, though, he has returned to his love of art and juggled it with providing for his family.
Accepting the two do not always work hand in hand, dotted around the Cork’s backyard are various recycled steel structures crafted into playground and ballet practice equipment.
One is a swing set, which Mr Cork made after taking inspiration from a bird of paradise.
“I am a big recycler and enjoy incorporating a variety of materials into my art,” he said.
“I try to use sustainable materials and aim to make my work move.
“I want my art to have a purpose and be functional.
“In time, I would love to see my sculptures used as entrance statement pieces — which could power a set of traffic lights nearby.”
Mr Cork said he had completed his certificate III and IV in art and design at Challenger Institute of Technology in Rockingham, but was now searching for an electrician’s apprenticeship after completing a pre-apprenticeship.
He said he wanted to combine what he had learnt about design with electronics to make solar or wind powered-art that would fuel his passion and hopefully provide for his family.
Having tried the kinetic aspect in previous creations, his latest project embraces solar energy and is titled Linked.
Mr Cork said the sculpture formed the shape of a human head, but it was made out of bicycle chain and was practical because it lit up at night.
“I wanted it to be both creative and useful,” he said.
“Linked symbolises the way everyone is connected.
“There’s so much linking us all together — every human on the planet is linked by the chain of life, regardless of race or place, and electronics now keep us more linked than ever.”
He designed Linked last year, but submitted it for this year’s Castaways Sculpture Awards.
Castaways is an exhibition that celebrates the melding of recycled materials with environmental awareness and has been an annual feature at the Rockingham foreshore since 2008.
This year, it attracted 101 entries and Mr Cork’s was one of the 47 artworks selected.
He urged people to support the beach exhibition from May 10 to 18.
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