Radio Chipstone: Tramp Art

Apr 6, 2019

Some say Taylor Wright Rushing is a jack of all trades: artist, graduate student, woodworker, teacher and storyteller. He's got the kind of skills a fellow could take on the road, ride the rails, and scratch out a living for himself on the free and open road. Some might say he embodies the skills of the art he says he's obsessed with — tramp art.

Taylor Wright Rushing creates art using found items and common tools.
Credit Courtesy of Taylor Wright Rushing

Centered primarily around the Great Depression, tramp art is created using found objects, such as cigar boxes, and sculpting them with common tools, according to Rushing.

"I just think that we're so fortunate that we have this as part of our culture," says Rushing. "I think that those sort of objects translate so well nowadays. In a culture where people don't necessarily make a lot of their own things anymore, I really believe in this sort of inherent magic that these objects hold."

In this edition of Radio Chipstone, Rushing tells contributor Gianofer Fields about how he uses traditional carving skills passed down from traveling workers of the great Depression to craft his own narratives:

Material culture contributor Gianofer Fields curates the Radio Chipstone series. The project is funded by the Chipstone Foundation, a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.