Co.Design

Dumpster Diving Artist Creates Trippy 3-D Drawings From Wood Scraps [Slideshow]

Ron van der Ende turns old doors and cabinets into stunningly realistic sculptures — and doesn't need a single layer of paint to do it.

Ron van der Ende must have the patience of a Torah scribe. His artwork, shown above, might vaguely resemble a photograph or at least a damn good paint by numbers, but it's actually made entirely out of reclaimed wood veneers — each an astonishingly scant 3 millimeters thick.

All those colors? They're the wood's original paint job.

It gets crazier. All those colors? They're the wood's original paint job; Van der Ende, who hails from the Netherlands, doesn't use a lick of extra pigment. Instead, he hoards wood the way a painter collects paint tubes, stalking the dumpsters of Rotterdam for doors, cupboards, planks — whatever he can find. That way, he's always got plenty of colors on hand. (On the rare occasion he can't find the right color, he visits a warehouse near Rotterdam that stores more than 7,000 old doors. "An afternoon in there with a good flashlight will usually get me exactly what I need," he tells Co. in an email.)

How he works: "I start by taking the [wood] object apart and removing screws, nails, and hinges. After that I use a saw-bench to cut the wood into veneers around 3mm thick. Any rest of the material is used in the construction of the bas-relief shape. When it is done I apply the veneers with nails and glue to the bas-relief as a mosaic creating or enhancing the illusion of shadows, reflections, and perspective."

Van der Ende will spend six to eight weeks of his life pasting together a single sculpture. Geez. Almost makes the Parthenon Frieze look like finger painting.

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