I’m part of an artist group called the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers. I’ve only been a member for about 4 years, but the group was started 30 years ago. One of the founding members is my friend Len Davidson, who also opened the Neon Museum of Philadelphia last year. The Dumpster Divers don’t actually go diving into dumpsters (well, maybe some of them used to back in the day) but rather are a group of artists who use trash, recycled and repurposed items, and in my case found objects, to make their artwork. Besides being a neon maker and artist, I am also a collector and appreciator of old, interesting, and unusual objects. I’m pretty sure if I wasn’t making neon for a living I would open up a junk/thrift shop. Maybe a plan for my retirement! Those of you who are familiar with my artwork know that I love to combine neon with some of the found/collected objects that I acquire. Well, I recently made a few pieces for an art show celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers, and two of them are neon-less. 🙂 I must say, it was really fun and somewhat liberating to work on something where I didn’t have to consider the placement of neon in the design! It really gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted.

Coping Mechanisms, 2022. This piece uses an antique muffin tin as the container for an assortment of collected trinkets. The newspaper clippings I cut from old issues (circa 1977) of the tabloid The National Inquirer. I hope people can recognize the humorous tone of this piece.

This piece (below) I had the idea for long before it actually came to fruition, with many of the components displayed quietly in my neon studio, just waiting for the right moment to come alive. The title comes from a line in the Joan Armatrading song “I’m Lucky.”

This last piece has neon, but I’m including it because it was part of the same art making sessions. The “cabinet” is actually an old drawer.

Heart Power, 2022

The 30th Anniversary exhibition for the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers opened on April of 2022 at Dupree Gallery and at this point the closing date is undetermined, but it is expected to continue through the summer. (Call ahead for hours) I hope if you are in the Philly area over the next few months you stop by and check it out. There are some truly amazing and interesting works of art!