Thursday Salute to Originals: Chickasso
What happens when you cross a chicken and a paint brush? No, this is not your typical why did the chicken joke – artist Echo Yang actually straps a painting device to a wind-up toy. Transforming the mechanical chicken into a Picasso protégé, the video recordings of the toy’s painting process are even more curious than the final result.
The toy chicken isn’t the only device that Yang artistically animates – other works include a wind-up alarm clock, vacuum cleaner, hand mixer, and electric shaver as the “artists”. The patterns left by these automated processes are tied to the repetitive motions inherent in their making and operation; each one is distinct, bearing the artistic signature specific to each mechanical device.
In Echo Yang’s pieces, analog meets automation to create art. A simple repetitive motion made by the outdated object is recorded on the surface of a canvas, causing us to question the very act of creation.
Do digital design tools limit our thinking? Or can embracing the capabilities of a machine open up new avenues of expression? For provoking those questions and manipulating the capabilities of the mechanical, this artist is worthy of a Thursday Salute. Now only if we could train that hand mixer to do a door schedule…