David Random is a new artist at The Works at Studios on Maine Art Hill. Around here, we lovingly refer to him as “The Rocketman.” He is the dreamer, the designer, and the creator of the crazy, beautiful, fascinating rockets found here at Maine Art Hill.
ABOVE: Vintage 1959. Components: Vintage Thermos, chrome hair dryer, 1959 Cadillac tail light, matching vintage bullet flashlights affixed to hand pump liquor dispensers filled with candy cake decorations, a vintage cigarette dispenser, 1950s Lite-Brite peg, vintage beehive blender base.
David works from mostly repurposed artifacts. His studio is a highly organized collection of everything you and imagine.
“Created from reclaimed antique mechanical and architectural parts, my rocket ship creations evolved after years of collecting,” shares Random. “From heating grates and lawn sprinklers to kitchen utensils, I have collected them all.”
David enjoys the detail designed into something so utilitarian. After appreciating the individual pieces, he realized many seemed to fit together almost as if they’d been made that way.
“That’s when things took off. My “Antique Airships” and “Retro Rockets” have been an evolution of this process of fanciful combinations,” says Random. “Combining parts requires special attention to the details of conformity. If a rocket includes a lot of beautifully tarnished silverplate, you can’t just throw in a piece of brass, even if the shape is perfect.”
ABOVE: Vintage 1917. Components: Antique wooden newel post, antique wooden beehive bobbins, brass kerosene lamp components, vintage brass garden hose nozzle, antique brass clock gears, vintage bicycle reflectors, vintage wooden chess piece, vintage Lite-Brite pegs, decorative brass bracket, antique figural metal base.
That same sensibility does not permit a component from the 1950s, for example, to be used in combination with one from the 1890s.
“The whole credibility of a piece would go out the window with that type of inconsistency,” he says. “These aren’t supposed to look like patchwork quilts. They must have integrity that allows one’s imagination to see them as something designed with a single aesthetic and purpose.”
When components need to be fastened utilizing screws or bolts, Random goes to his stash of salvaged fasteners. It would destroy the effect of a finished piece to use new hardware, no matter how inconspicuous.
Vintage 1895. Components: Antique brass mechanical pump, Victorian brass swing-arm drapery brackets, vintage Rex bicycle emblem, antique light fixture bracket, vintage garden hose nozzle, kerosene lamp component, antique clock gears, vintage radio vacuum tube, vintage brass lamp stand.
“Then there is welding. I have just a few words about welding. I don’t do it! Welding forces together pieces which do not naturally join,” explains Random. “I like to use components that fit together as if made for each other. That’s why my rocket ships take so long to create.”
In some cases, David may wait a year or more for just the right artifact to turn up at an antique shop or flea market before a specific rocket can be finished.
David Random graduated in 1969 with a Fine Arts degree from Massachusetts College of Art. Subsequently, he worked in the Boston Advertising community for thirty-five years. He is currently retired from the Creative Director position at DiBona, Bornstein & Random, the agency he co-founded in 1989.
We welcome you to wander into The Works and check out these incredible creations of David Random. The Works is open every day at 10 am. Please check the website for seasonal closing hours.