How odd that after all these years my medium isn’t paint or charcoal or clay, but bicycle inner tubes. It is a material that most people consider garbage and yet I have found these rubber loops a most satisfying thing to manipulate.
I have cut, curved and manipulated enough discarded inner tubes to know that there are wildly differing degrees of quality: some are very thick and rubbery, while others are thinner and more plastic feeling; some are shiny and some are matte. They are all different circumferences, depending on the size they were when created and how long they spent inflated in a bicycle tire. I have created a taxonomy of different sizes, and have learned that it is preferable to make a necklace or bracelet with rubber from the same inner-tube, for consistency’s sake. For the wall pieces I like to use varied sizes as it looks more organic. They are all coated with a white powder on the inside, probably to prevent the brand new inner tubes from sticking together while rolled up tightly in their boxes. This powder coating creates a desirable gray color shift from outside to inside, which adds a lot of dimension. They don’t smell, and generally speaking, their “blackness” does not rub off on clothing or necks. I don’t know how long before they will turn brittle and start to crack or even if that will happen at all. I had some old rubber water shoes I inherited from my mother that just recently started to dry out and crack after about 50 years. I guess that’s a pretty long shelf life.
My work is meditative and always evolving. The possibilities of new configurations are infinite and the supply of inner tubes is seemingly endless, usually free, and it gives me pleasure to think that there is no other artist who uses them in quite the same way, at least not that I have seen.
The word torus refers to the donut or curved tube shape in geometry so I like to tell people the name Metatorus, loosely translated, means “after the tube”.