I stumbled upon Bill Skrips’ Instagram feed and was instantly taken with his work. While this work is loaded with clear references to the outsider and folk art traditions there’s a fluency to his vocabulary that betrays a much more sophisticated aesthetic. None of this should lead you to believe that the work is relying on an academic seriousness – while some of these pieces invoke a threatening tone, there’s a playfulness in the work that provides levity and buoyancy.
Following is a small selection of his work along with his thoughts on process and materials.
Combining found objects, recycled and new materials with the influence of American Folk art, I try to forge a union between the humorous and the dark within my work. Carved and painted wooden forms dominate my assemblages, incorporating my passion for both the three dimensional and the painterly.
Using found objects and discards has always had an attraction for me. Not only do I have a penchant for collecting stuff, but serious gratification comes to me from giving old or used material new life. Since I rarely work from sketches or planned drawings, the found objects that lie around the studio help me greatly in developing pieces.
After seeing a bit of my work, you can see how driven I am by objects/detritus and things that I “find”. I wonder how much of this is genetic, literally traceable to my father and his kind: “pack rats extraordinaire”. This surely goes back further to his/my European background, where bits of lint and wood and broken buttons and odd fragments became god knows what-all, saved for some effort of survival-a knitting of dust motes-whatever speck could be collected and added and then transformed…I seem to be on a similar track-it makes me wonder if those “relatives” got a similar pleasure when things they assembled actually gelled and a new thing, phoenix-like, was raised up from the dust.
My process of creating is empirical/hit or miss, based on intuition more than any form of logic or prefigured drawing or concept. I combine painting, carving, modeling, welding, found bits and pieces and think of them all (both processes and objects) as materials almost magnetically drawn together and marching to a “finished” product. Titling pieces can be as difficult as creating them and this can come before or after the sculpture (or painting) is completed.