Los Angeles-based Christopher Tallon, a graduate
of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture,
engages the histories of both fields in his playful
reiterations of hand tools, free weights, and other
decidedly un-fragile objects.
Reminiscent of Baroque trompe-l’loeil murals,
Tallon’s true-to-life sculptures are inspired by the
most prosaic, even macho, objects, remade with
the simplest of raw materials: paper.
Photograph by Christopher Tallon
But what is a new hammer or a pristine set of
wrenches when the first tap or twist will ruin it?
Upon reflection, Tallon’s works address utility and
its absence. More directly, they’re just plain fun.
Tallon’s paper barbells, saws, and vises have
been exhibited in galleries in L.A. and San Francisco
and, in late 2008, in a juried exhibition at the Los
Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. In a city crawling with
artists — at least 600 entered the competition — >> More of Tallon’s Tools: latchgallery.com/tallon
Tallon’s surprisingly fresh-looking tool bench was a
highlight (it took second place), and his meticulous
craftsmanship is the key.
It would be easy to mistake Tallon’s replicas for
the real thing, but the hitch is that none of the
objects he duplicates are intended to be as clean
as the resulting facsimiles. Even a tool bench in a
store display would likely bear some mark of its
use; after all, tools are supposed to be dirty.
At a time when U.S. manufacturing — and school
courses in woodworking and machine shop — are
threatened with extinction, Tallon’s unused and
unusable tools take on new meaning.
The recent economic downturn might indeed
have Americans rethinking their disregard for the
value of making. But if the age-old dyad of “man
and his tools” does come to its rest, Tallon will
ensure that it has a cheerful coffin.