Repurposed Blocks of Art

I've been following Dan Marrable, better known as TERRIBLEm86 in the art community, for over a year now and I'm still obsessed with his ability to transform discarded scaffolding wood into lovely pieces of art.

Dan constructs Building Blocks from discarded scaffolding wood that are cut into individual 22 x 15.5cm blocks. Resin, existing metal, acrylics, and other mixed media are also utilized before the block hangs flush against the wall. He chose scaffolding wood to bring new meaning to a "discarded tool that has spent its entire life supporting the creation of structures but never looked upon as art itself."

I had the pleasure of interviewing him (in spite of the 8 hour time difference) to learn more about his inspirations and his craft.

E: After living in Vancouver, have you found Scotland to inspire a different artistic side in you?

TM86: Vancouver is an amazing city that I really love. Scotland is a beautiful country, and Glasgow especially has inspired me to create the work I do now, it is a city of contrasting structures with the very old mixed with new development.
E: Your art has shifted from illustration to the Building Blocks. What caused the change?
TM86: I think the main shift away from illustrations (which I still do, though not as often) was the fact that my illustration style didn’t seem original to me. I needed to try new materials to stick out from the crowd which is why I started using reclaimed scaffolding wood. I also always liked the size and tactile nature of the blocks that Vancouver artist Sid Dickens created and wanted to make something of similar size but fine art heavy. Each ‘Building Block’ is one of a kind, hand-crafted and unique.
Though Vancouver still inspires some of my work, I get the majority of my inspiration now from the architecture in Glasgow along with colours and textures from found objects in the city. 
E: Have you always had an interest in art, even as a child?
TM86: I always drew as a kid. I loved art, but as I entered high school, I put it on the back burner until grade 12 where I realized it’s what I really wanted to do. I graduated from York University with a degree in Graphic Design. Then for years after, I let it fall to the wayside a bit. But over the past few years, I’ve really started identifying myself as an artist and it’s what I really love doing. Even when I have to do other jobs to earn a living, I’m always thinking about what my next project will be and always craving to be back in the studio. It's really where I am the happiest. It's taken me a while to realize that art is what makes me happy and since coming to that important realization, I can’t get enough!
E: What was on your playlist when you were working on your current collection? Do you have any tracks that are regularly played at the studio?
TM86: This current collection is a combination of new and old work, so the playlist varies a lot. Generally I’m actually quite boring and have talk radio on in the background as I work, generally BBC Radio 5. I really enjoy commentary on news around the world and like to keep up to date on the news and issues that affect the UK. Though I don’t see my work as a reflection of what’s relevant in the news; I purposely deviate from those topics to present art for art’s sake. If I don’t have talk radio on I generally try to expand my music knowledge and always put on a Spotify playlist that has new music on it. Sometimes I’ll listen to Classical music (because it makes me feel smart…and I really do enjoy it), Johnny Cash, Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Death from Above, Janes Addiction, The Chemical Brothers, Sigur Ros, Royal Blood…..and lots more. 
E: That's a sweet lineup. I'm a huge fan of Sigur Ros and find them very inspiring when I'm designing. Any plans to return to Vancouver for the long or short-term?
TM86: The plan is to come back to Vancouver next year end of April / May, but I do look at Glasgow as my home. I would love to have a show in Vancouver. I might look to do a month residency, although I’m not up to date on my knowledge of artist residencies in BC. 
E: Where have you displayed your work? And where can people find it?
TM86: I recently had a show in Baku (Azerbaijan), which was an amazing experience. My aim was to really explore new mediums, away from Building Blocks. I’m hoping to bring the show over to Glasgow to display. In the past, I’ve had my work displayed in the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, The Lighthouse and School of Art in Glasgow. All my art is available on my website -
I’ve been doing some street art around Glasgow lately called #glasgowARMY where I glue bright yellow army men around the city in little nooks in the aim that people would find them and explore the city. 
E: For your upcoming show in Glasgow, what is the concept behind your work? What were some of your inspirations?
TM86: I want to portray that discarded wood and items can be beautiful in their own way. Scaffolding wood is used as the aim and it is to bring new meaning to a discarded tool that has spent its entire life supporting the creation of structures but never looked upon as art itself. These endearing qualities exude emotional connections that showcase imperfections as strengths. The process of using resin encapsulates the left over construction dirt and grime in state and provides a canvas for painting and shaping. It not only breathes new artistic life into an otherwise discarded object but also preserves the history of the wood.
E: What does the future hold for TerribleM86? And why did you choose that name?
TM86: I’ll be moving into my new studio at the end of September and I’m really looking forward to getting back to work, I have a million different ideas in my mind for the 2016 collection of Building Blocks, and more! I also have some work in the Visual Artist Unit member’s show mid-September. In November, I’ll be teaming up with two other artists Robbie Thomson and Kathy Hinde on a panel for an artist talk as part of Sonica Festival in Glasgow. The end of the year is always exciting as there is the Royal Scottish Academy Open and a few other open group shows where I’m hoping to display some of my work. 
The name? TERRIBLEm86 is a commentary on social media’s impact on emerging artists. It's an ongoing performance art piece that explores how anyone is able to display their work to the masses by a simple post on their phone. It’s a tag that I’ve grown into over the years and makes it easy for me to post anything online and it's picked up by google right away. Making art is all about being confident in what you’re creating. As an artist, it takes me at least a few hours in the studio before I get into the proper headspace in order to channel my concentration before I can make anything of worth. I feel this is also the reason behind TERRIBLEm86 as it embodies the space I need to get outside of everyday normal life while I’m creating.
I am so excited to see his new ideas come to life and I'm looking forward to watching his art continue to evolve. Over the past year, TERRIBLEm86 has displayed his work at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, Glasgow School of Art, Visual Artist Scotland VAS:T and the historic Lighthouse in Glasgow. Recently he completed a five-month residency in Baku Azerbaijan, which culminated in a solo show called #TM86sovetskaya which utilized found objects within Baku.

He is a member of the Society of Scottish Artists, Visual Artists Scotland & Visual Artist Unit (VAU) in Glasgow. 

TERRIBLEm86 will have a solo exhibition at the Gesso Coffee Lounge Gallery from September 4 - 24, 2015. If you're in the area, make sure you stop by to see his work. Or if you're like me and won't be in Glasgow, follow TERRIBLEm86 on Instagram and get a glimpse into the life of this amazing Glasgow artist.

Comments on this post (1 comment)

  • Lauren Edvalson says...

    His work is lovely! Great feature Emmy! ?

    On September 25, 2015

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