By Taking Apart Watches, These Collaborating Artists Made Something Cooler.
Artist and miniature-maker Dan Tanenbaum has a fascination with the inner workings of watches. He could obsess over the tiny components in the timepieces for days. He describes himself as an “avid, if not obsessive” watch collector. In addition, he collects the discarded pieces of vintage watches and gives new life to each of the pieces.
At first, he started making cufflinks decorated with watch gears arranged to look like tiny motorcycles. (As a lover of watches, he only uses broken and discarded watch components, and never breaks apart functioning watches.) Soon, though, the cufflinks, as unique as they are, began to feel stale, and so Tanenbaum expanded his portfolio to include free-standing miniature models of motorcycles, all created from watch parts.
“Once I started my first motorcycle I decided to stick with this as my focus,” he says. Soon, someone introduced him to the aesthetic subculture known as Steampunk, which features a lot of mechanical, gear-based pieces. “I was amazed at how many artist were in this space and started a collection of pieces from various artists creating amazing works out of watch parts.”
Through these connections, Tanenbaum teamed up with two other sculptors who used watch and other mechanical parts in their work, Sue Beatrice and Justin Gershensen-Gates. He admired their work and tracked them down with the proposal of a collaboration. Tanenbaum created the motorcycles, and Beatrice and Gershensen-Gates created the riders. The result is a complex but cohesive blend of the three artists’ styles–Tanenbaum’s meticulous arrangements, Beatrice’s delicate forms and Gershensen-Gates’ futuristic take on the human figure.
Tanenbaum’s fascination with the individual pieces that make up watches gives him an appreciation for their beauty, as well as for the craftsmanship that went into their initial creation. He says he always “felt that the pieces that were on their way to a junk pile can live a new life as a piece of art,” and, given how these turned out, we’re glad he did.
And Tanenbaum also posts his work on Instagram.
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