Mad for Motor Madness by Jesse Bakey

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Friday, June 14, 2013-Friday, July 12, 2013

Opening Reception: Monday, June 17, 2013 | 5-7pm

Maquoketa Art Experience is mad for Maquoketa’s Motor Madness (June 21-22, 2013)! Jesse Bakey’s life-sized derby car is an installation you don’t want to miss! Jesse is a recent graduate of Clarke College. He specializes in large-scale cardboard constructions. His derby car is made purely from cardboard, but you will have to stop in and see it to believe it. We will also have some of Jesse’s smaller works on display including the car’s engine, another smaller car, and a hiker’s pack.

Artist Statement

I have grown up with demolition derbies. The cars coming out of our garage were always the sharpest cars on the track. My father and I have always taken pride in the sparkling dirtless cars as we pull out on to the track to become covered in mud and grease, and if we are lucky, we are the last to pull off the track in a mangled wreck of a car. When I first became interested in art, I never connected it to demolition derbies. Sure, a nice paint job, decals, and on occasion wax made these cars attract a lot of attention, but that’s where it ended. The typical redneck stereotypes didn’t help the matter either. My idea of what art is began to morph. Both art and demolition derbies have always been a release from the real world to me whether I was in the garage tearing apart a car or in the studio throwing on the wheel.

Demolition derbies are seen as pure chaos; some refer to it as legalized road rage, others pure entertainment, and still others see it as both. Before the green drops, your heart nearly bursts from your chest. It’s when you hit that first car that you begin to slow down and think: planning your shots, how you can win, or how to get the biggest hit. During the event, the body blocks out the pain. You don’t feel the whiplash, the pain of your wrist in a spinning steering wheel, or the doorpost leaving paint marks on your helmet. It’s the adrenaline, and for me, it’s the same feeling I get from art whether it’s the feeling of accomplishment of creating a great work of art or the sick-to-the-stomach feel before an important review.

I have created my current derby car in cardboard. I chose to use cardboard for a few reasons: it’s pliable, cheap, and easy to build large. The cardboard I use is recycled. Also, the cars I build are used, and when I am finished, I recycle as much of the car as I can. I have sculpted the pieces based off the condition the car was in after its second derby. The pieces created are all 1:1 scale. Other materials used are bolts, wood, glue, and paper.

Often I notice people are surprised by two things about me. One, I am an artist, and two, I am a demolition derby driver. Taken separately, these may not cause surprise, but together, they can join two different worlds. I am a demolition derby driving artist. If I were to take one of these away, the other would suffer.

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