How many of you grew up with a sibling—or perhaps you yourself was the culprit–who loved to take things apart? And how successful were they (you) at reassembling it to a successful result?
Chuck Dolence grew up with older brothers who were always working on something: lawn mowers, go-carts, cars, boats, whatever, fixing something that was broken. So he watched and learned something very important: don’t be afraid of working with tools. Chuck soon learned that if he could carefully take something apart, he might get it back together and have it work.
“I wondered if I could open up the treasures to see if I could fix them like I would see my older brothers do with their cars and mowers. Most of the toys were sheet metal stampings held together by formed metal tabs, holding pieces together through a slot, then bent over. I used a beat up pair of pliers, a hammer, and screwdriver my dad gave me permission to use to pry them apart. The toys were not made for repeated disassembly or repairs, so I started to completely disassemble the hulks I destroyed into a small candy box of what became a collection of parts, gears, wheels, springs, ratchets, pins, and other tempting hardware.” (Ahh, anyone starting a hobby that grows in importance understands this collection of potential supplies.)
As Chuck not only worked on his skills for the tools he needed, but he researched, “carnivorously devouring books, hot rod, and science and mechanics magazines, which were all about tools, materials, and methods. So in many respects, and in many areas, I am self taught, but I am just curious and tenacious. My art is just a continuous effort of find and build. “
All that tinkering in his younger days has evolved and became the foundation of the reverse engineering and contraption design that I still do today.
Chuck finds his “stuff” through various sources. “The fun part of collecting the stuff was it was free and we were able to take it apart just to examine the parts, how they were assembled, and able to see how it all worked. And it cost us nothing. I do the same thing now with Goodwill finds and scrap yard parts, and build them into my art. Seeing the inside of a lawnmower, clock, mechanical or electrical device, pump, electric motor, etc. is a unique experience that transitioned through changes in time and technologies. An example, the metal chassis of TVs went to circuit boards. One of the things that was fun for us as teenagers was taking things apart.”
One of the exciting things about doing my art is exposing and combining hidden internal components of ordinary devices that are brilliantly conceived and masterfully crafted by there inventors into my creations. My art is a last stop tribute to those designers. I want to create art that stimulates intrigue and interest; something people have never seen before, with components they may never have seen before, from technology slices they may have never seen before.
Chuck Dolence and Musanicals will be at Table #32 of the McMinnville Recycled Arts Festival, April 26 & 27 10-4 Nicholson Library on the Linfield College Campus