“I start by gluing a sheet of Plexiglas into the steel frame, which a welder makes for me. From there, I take a piece of glass and I tape it up a bit, and I smash it to create different kinds of lines. That gives a background for the works, and also creates another layer of depth; the works typically have four to seven layers of glass and Plexi sandwiched together. From there I usually take spray lacquer, and I spray the surface of the glass and then rub it away. That fills in the cracks. Then I take a liquid plastic, like an epoxy resin, which, when poured onto glass, fills the cracks and makes it secure.
Last, I put it up on the wall and I start working on it from the front. A lot of the things that I do initially are part of the background, but I can’t see what I’m doing so there’s an element of chance in there. Once it goes up on the wall, the work is very controlled, it’s very precise, and it’s very specific.”
“This is where I cut the Plexi. I score the Plexi with this straight edge and snap it. The marks are where the knife comes off the Plexi that I’ve cut; eventually I turn these workbenches into sculptural objects. You can see this one is a ‘T’ shape, and it’s referenced back into the shape of some of the compositions in the work.”
“This is generally where all the prep takes place. When the epoxy is wet you have about 30 minutes of working time, so I like to have the materials as accessible as possible should I want to use them. Leftovers from things I’ve destroyed remain here, in case while I’m prepping I want to use some. And I do my collages here. ”
“I started using the bandsaw to try and reduce the repetitive injuries that I was having from cutting everything by hand. Cutting small pieces of Plexi requires a lot of pressure from the hands and arms.”
Wall space for works in progress:
“Beyond just prepping it on the floor, 90 percent of the time the work is on the wall. Across from the wall space is a traditional painter’s chair. I’m trying not to keep much furniture in here because I don’t want it to be a comfortable environment. That prevents me from being lazy.”
Photographs by Alex John Beck