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above image courtesy of The Birmingham News
Walt Creel of Birmingham, Alabama uses a deadly weapon, ironically, to create images of sweet Southern wildlife. Brandishing a rifle, he fires .22 caliber bullets through 4' x 6' white painted aluminum panels to form images of a deer, an owl, a rabbit, a possum, a squirrel and bird in his project, De-Weaponizing The Gun.
detail of Rabbit:
The pointillist-like art is as interesting to admire up close as it is from afar, and is the artist's attempt at taking away the destructive power of the gun.
The finished image of Squirrel [above] and creating the piece [below].
Close -up of deer:
DEWEAPONIZING THE GUN by Walton Creel
In the artist's own words:
The terms gun and weapon are practically interchangeable. From hunting to war, self defense to target practice, the gun has been a symbol of power and destruction. Art and entertainment have both taken the same approach to he gun. Traveling Wild West shows had gunslingers that shot crude silhouettes and names, but this was done to illustrate the shooters prowess. Some artists have used high speed film to capture a bullet slicing through its target, while other artists have melted guns into sculptures.
When I decided I wanted to make art using a gun, I was not sure what direction I would have to take. I knew I did not want to use it simply as an accent to work I was doing, but as the focus. My main goal was to take the destructive power away from the gun. To manipulate the gun into a tool of creation and use it in a way that removed it from its original purpose, to deweaponize it.
During my first experiment I came across the concept of creating an image hole by hole on a surface. I also figured out that canvas would be too stressed by the process of a rifle firing many bullets into it.
A test firing of the bullets into canvas:
I moved on to aluminum and, with further experimentation, I figured out exactly how far apart my shots needed to be and that moving beyond .22 caliber was simply too destructive. When the aluminum was painted beforehand, the blast of the gun knocked off a tiny amount of paint around each hole, which helped fuse the image together.
images courtesy of the artist and the Coleman Center For The Arts,
Deweaponizing the Gun is an ongoing series presented in installments.