I woke up at 10 AM for my Art Class on Tuesday morning, I arrived early so I picked up a copy of the Daily 49er and picked up a cup of coffee. As I began to read, I stumbled on an article entitled “Through the Fired Glass” an editorial about an artist from CSULB named Maccabee Shelley. The Article continued on to describe Shelley’s background in art and his showcased art in the Gotav Gallery at the university entitled “No Redemption Value”.
As I make my way toward class, I pass the Gotav gallery to have a peep at the artwork that I was just reading about. I saw these unique-looking glass statues that looked like coral-reefs, but I didn’t get a close enough look. I got to class and viewed a documentary about spray-painting art around the world. After the documentary, a guest arrived to class and our professor Zucman introduced him as Maccabee Shelley. The artist that I had been reading about just minutes before and had caught a glimpse of his art was now standing in front of me discussing his work.
After class, I returned to the Gotav gallery and had some one-on-one time with “Mac” Shelley to discuss his artwork and the entire process it takes for a piece. He explained that he basically creates a plaster and silicone-like mold with chicken wiring as a structure for the shape of the piece he is attempting to create. He then takes several glass bottles with no redemption value and crushes them and fills the mold with the glass. He then puts the mold with glass in a ceramics oven and the glass melts into the shape of the mold. After the glass and mold are cool enough, he breaks apart the plaster mold and the piece is finished. He then began to tell me about all of the experiments he conducted with the glass pieces, such as the “dripping effect” that some of the pieces had from sections that weren’t yet cooled all the way. He said that the more he tinkered with his art, the more cool effects and visuals he produced.
I asked him several questions beyond the technical processes of his artwork as well. For instance, I wondered why none of his art pieces had names or titles; so I asked him. Shelley himself wondered if names would “add or subtract to the value of [his] pieces”; he explained that if he gave his artworks names, people would be influenced to see what the names suggested. He would rather the observer see what they felt the art meant to them, rather than what the artist sensed. Shelley then began to tell me about his ambitions to go to a good grad school and his hopes that the artwork he was producing now would be recognized and admired. “If you have an idea, go for it! Even if you fuck up, it’s better than not trying the idea in the first place”; No Redemption Value was Maccabee Shelley’s idea.