Ruby Re-Usable made a pilgrimage back to her home state this summer, and while she did not get to check out all of the weird, wonderful, artsy and trashy sites of New Jersey, she did get to briefly visit the Jersey Shore, specifically, the Asbury Park area, where she was impressed by the art from salvaged materials of Roddy Wildeman.
Roddy owns and manages Torche’ Galerie in Belmar, NJ. For the past 15 years, he has also worked as a carpenter, renovating homes and reusing salvaged wood for his starburst assemblages:
During the renovation process I watched as building debris and other materials piled up to be discarded. I began to feel mixed emotions as I thought about the history associated with these items.
I decided to ask the residents if I could salvage this material-building debris, metal and furniture. I began to repurpose and use it to make art. Although I’m not formally trained as an artist, I worked under master carpenters and absorbed their craft. There is something about knowing these items have been cherished that inspires me. I feel an intimate connection working with materials knowing they have passed through the hands of others. They have sentimental value, because they have been part of homes and the families that lived, loved and died there.
Roddy Wildeman’s work took on a greater poignancy when he started using debris from the boardwalks demolished by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The artwork has become a way to memorialize the shore communities. Pieces include debris from a number of shore towns, including Ocean Grove’s fishing pier and Long Branch.