Saxon Reynolds turns forefathers’ rubbish into Wunderkammer treasure

When Saxon Reynolds’s father died in 2012, he inherited an abundance of components, antique weapons, companies and quite a few pre-loved things.

Both equally his father Garry and grandfather Clifford were collectors slash hoarders.

“Overnight I grew to become the only son of an only son, who has inherited all of these matters. Fundamentally, everything you can think about anyone accumulating, they gathered,” the assemblage artist and secondary art trainer claimed.

As a way of processing his grief, Reynolds sketched at evening-time and cleaned in the course of the working day.

“We stopped counting following 26 skip bins of garbage, so which is 26 tonnes that we threw out, but [also] we stored a lot.” 

There are 88 operates contained in just Saxon Reynolds’s seven collection exhibition Wunderkrammer.(

ABC Illawarra: Sarah Moss


A man holding a tool.
Garry Reynolds taught his son Saxon how use the tools he has considering the fact that inherited.(

Equipped: Saxon Reynolds


Clifford Reynolds, a saxophonist who played in large jazz bands in the 1930s, ran a steam cleaning organization in Orange NSW with his son Garry.

Reynolds inherited, and stored, a great deal of steam shop-associated artefacts these types of as mechanical elements, cogs, gears and pipes.

“I like the notion of applying what a ton of people today would take into account to be garbage and placing it on the similar pedestal as a thing that is extremely cherished for the reason that to me they are precious objects.”

He inherited many of the equipment he works by using today.

“I generally recall Dad declaring, ‘If I drop dead’ which is what transpired, ‘you’ve bought a great established of instruments you can use’. I seriously like the plan of working with the resources they experienced to develop points out of their components.”

Artist sketches and tools of the trade on a table.
Reynolds noticed his sketches started to target much more and much more close to circles.(

ABC Illawarra: Sarah Moss


Anything has a use

Reynolds remembers becoming informed he could, one working day, use all people bits and items. But it really is been a rollercoaster ride nevertheless.

“It is tricky. Often I’ll use a little bit and I’m like, oh they’d kill me if they noticed me making use of this, or they would have a go at me for not joining it the way it must be joined,” he laughed.

“It was a way for me to perform by way of my grief and to set the lovely things that they had saved after 70-odd many years of amassing, to have a 2nd life and be seen by other folks.”

Saxon sits at a desk he owned as a child.
Reynolds began earning artworks from a incredibly young age and now considers it additional than just a passion.(

ABC Illawarra: Sarah Moss


About 90 for every cent of the products used in Wunderkammer, Reynolds’s to start with solo Australian exhibition currently on at Wollongong Art Gallery, are from the retained objects.

He admits he is also a hoarder.

“It really is in the blood, so I utilised my individual supplies as well.”

Provide on the steampunk jazz

“In 2011, I was in France and observed a steampunk fairy that had cogs and bits and pieces on it, which I was drawn too,” Reynolds stated.

Two sculptures sit side by side
Reynolds’s process enables him to hide the mechanics of assemblage powering ornamentation.(

ABC Illawarra: Sarah Moss


Arriving home in Australia, he says he investigated the style additional.

“My interpretation of steampunk is that it is an alternate variation of exactly where we could have long gone as a modern society. If, as an alternative of nuclear electric power and electrical power, we experienced focussed far more on steam-powered mechanics.”

An artwork using metal, wood and small red balls.
Reynolds states a excursion to Japan influenced his blended media Sushi Sequence, which is now on display at Wollongong Art Gallery.(

ABC Illawarra: Sarah Moss


Believe air blimps and Victorian England manner with hints of the industrial revolution era.

Like any artwork style, there are purists but Reynolds sees himself more as a dabbler in steampunk artwork.

New York artist, curator and arts columnist Art Donovan, who wrote the catalogue essay for Wunderkammer, discovered Reynolds’s artwork through the Instagram hashtag #steampunk.

“There they were — the most intriguing and superbly created ‘objects’ I experienced ever come throughout,” Donovan claimed.

“The concealed complexities become extra obvious with each individual successive viewing.

“The factors just take on a organic existence of their personal. Just about every piece is shaped and placed to kinetic perfection.” 

In drawing parallels in between the get the job done and visual new music, Donovan states every object is like a modest symphony emulating the rhythm of Reynolds’s forefathers’ hunger for jazz.

A grandiose flower arrangement made from bits and bobs.
Artwork from the Evolution Sequence is reminiscent of a grandiose flower arrangement in a steampunk actuality.(

ABC Illawarra: Sarah Moss


“It is really just like listening to an album by Rely Basie and his orchestra — you will just never get ample of his works.

“Provide on the jazz.” 

Cupboards of curiosities

The term Wunderkammer is German for “cabinet of curiosities”.

“These cupboards of curiosity are reminiscent of Wunderkammer’s of the previous,” Reynolds said.

Saxon Reynolds Pod Series harks back to the Victorian days of curiosity cabinets.
Saxon Reynolds’s Pod Collection harks back to the Victorian times of curiosity cupboards. (

ABC Illawarra: Sarah Moss


“Several of the objects, being challenging to continue to keep cleanse, are placed in glass domes reminiscent of specimen instances in natural record museums.

“They would discover specimens from faraway spots, carry them again to court and present them in these glass domes so they weren’t touched or stolen or ruined in any way,” he mentioned.

Each of the 88 is effective exhibited has a various story.

“I recall rising up and viewing these bits and items as a boy or girl so there is a personal connection in each piece.”

More than 10 years Reynolds devised seven sequence of functions starting with the Pod Collection.

Next arrived the Evolution Series, then the Zodiac Sequence on a scaled-down scale. In 2018, just after heading to Japan he started out to produce the Sushi Series.

“When we went into lockdown, I challenged myself to total an artwork a week, so that’s wherever the Miscellany Series came from.

“To complete it off there was the Journal Sequence which is considerably greater reduction-primarily based operates that dangle on a wall virtually like shrines to a individual ebook which occurs to appear within of them.”

Honouring loved ones ties

Reynolds’s get the job done relies not only on composition, use of colour and montage but also technique.

An intricate sculpture stands on a plinth
From the Evolution Sequence, these will work are assembled from up-cycled “junk” collected over 70 many years. (

ABC Illawarra: Sarah Moss


“I am going to sit with a particular variety of screw or area I want to place alongside one another, and I am going to be concerned about that for a thirty day period, as I am executing other operates mainly because, even even though no one particular else is heading to recognize aside from me.

“They are incredibly personalized functions and I want to make positive I am finding it suitable to make them proud.”

Mary E. Alvarez

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