Bevan Blankenberg

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition

How You Then For A Big Boy?

My practice mainly draws on dumpster diving for wooden pallets, refurbishing them and repurposing them for a specific project. The removal of nails and sanding of the wood leave behind cavities, imitating a wound, like tissue scarring of fighter dogs. The laborious and time-consuming effort to repurpose the wood informs my main practice in terms of materiality.

An important part of my childhood were my dogs and toys. I would fashion improvised toys out of backyard materials. Although improvising toys, play time remained interrupted by gang rows. These rows lead to kids either rebuking or glorifying the commotion, with it almost always being the latter.

Dogs were a big part of my childhood and I have seen many come and go due to brutal, impromptu fights in neighbourhood parks. They fought [The dogs were forced to fight by their owners?] either for small profits or street credit, which is a currency of “respect”. Along with blood money and the prevalence of toxic hypermasculinity, myself and other kids became desensitised to violence. Toys were used to supplement the loss of my trust with my pets, and distract me from the overall hostility and hold onto whatever empathy I had left.

The creative body of work implies a subtle violence that lurked in my community and still persists in many others. By creating toys that cannot be played with, the loss of innocence and vulnerability is the ideal analogy [to?/of?] a fighter dog which has been broken down. This is a response to the men who played a significant role in my upbringing, poisoning [the?] roots of healthy masculinity with blood sport and anti-social activities. When referring to dogs within my work, they are more symbolic in terms of past aggression inflicted on myself, [my] family and broader people [society?]. This referral remains fluid as the works cannot be subjected to my experiences alone. I come from a community where the criminal subculture embraces the youth like a dog to bone.