Kris Perry on Dick Farms, Inspiration and His Upcoming 'Practically Useless' Exhibition


This Thursday the 9th August from 6-9pm we will be hosting an exhibition here at Nauti. An unusual exhibition. This exhibition will be the unveiling of Kris Perry's latest creation. A large wooden mechanical sculpture powered by people. I asked Kris some questions about his practice and projects so that you may delve into the mind of our resident inventor.  

How would you describe yourself and what you do to people who want to know more about you?
I'm the guy who scavenges your broken appliances off the street so I can take them apart and figure out how they work and maybe try and fix them. And if what you threw out isn't actually broken, I'll probably try and fix it until it is. I'd rather have a house full of stuff I found and fixed than stuff I bought. 

Have you always been a maker/craftsperson?
Maybe. When I was a kid I went to a summer camp where each day they gave you a choice between making crafts or playing a sport. I wasn't necessarily against playing sports, but I'd always choose to do crafts because my logic was "I can't take a sport home and put it on display". So yea, early hoarder mentality maybe.

What inspires you and your work?
People who graffiti things. People who vandalize other people's graffiti. People who vandalize other people's vandalism of someone's graffiti... well you get the point.

Who taught you woodworking, engineering, metal working?
I'd have to give my Dad credit for at least exposing me to tools and the 'anything can be fixed' attitude.  He's always been a guy who's interested in how everything works and I never really thought that rubbed off on me until later in life. Also, mates, youtube videos, and just giving it a crack are all great places to start.

What is your favourite material to work with? 
I love the challenges of wood. I think woodworking is one of those things that you can truly spend a lifetime trying to master. It's an organic material so every piece is unique. It shrinks, swells, twists and bows depending on it's environment, so a good woodworker must know how to work "with" these factors, not against. Of course I have no idea what I'm talking about. I cant even identify most hardwoods. But hey, I never claimed to be a modern-day Antonio Stradivari or anything. I'm just a guy who's impressed by people who are really really good at making things. Especially from the pre-power tool era. 

You have an exhibition coming up at Nauti Studios on the 9th of August. What will you be exhibiting? 
My exhibit is called 'Practically Useless'. It's a large interactive wooden sculpture with lots of moving parts. Hopefully nobody gets their hair snagged or fingers crushed. I think people are impressed by things that are physically bigger than themselves. My sculpture is bigger than the fattest person on earth.

Who inspires you as an artist?
Mostly I'm inspired by the countless people you've never heard of who designed and created pretty much everything around you. I think engineering is a form of art. It's just not admired in the same way unfortunately. 

What's the best art piece you've ever seen in person? 
Once at burning man someone made a dick farm. It was just rows of rubber dicks sticking out of the dirt with a sign saying you could 'harvest' them. Every evening the artist would return and replenish the missing dicks with new ones. I never did find out who the artist was or how they got access to so many rubber dicks. I wonder if by the end of the festival replenishing the dicks became more of a chore than a passion. I guess that's kinda like art. You think it's a great idea at first but eventually you find yourself in the desert holding a box of rubber dicks asking yourself "is this what I should be doing with my time?"

What is your vision for your practice in the future? 
It'd be great to make something big and indestructible for a public space in the city.  I'd then want to get it mentioned in the daily telegraph and have it called a "waste of tax payer's money" or "a testament to the incompetence of [some government figure]"... #lifegoals

Which artists most influence your work? 
Ones that don't ask permission to do what they want and then do something so insanely good that people treasure and protect it. 

And finally, if you had to choose one nautical creature to best describe yourself in metaphor, what would it be? Why? 
I would be something that lives deep in the ocean that scientists haven't discovered yet. Why? Because the oceans deep man, we don't know what we don't know.

Join us this Thursday 9th August, from 6-9pm, to witness the great unveiling, and interrogate Kris further.

Kris Perry's 'Practically Useless', at opening night at Nauti Studios. 

Kris Perry's 'Practically Useless', at opening night at Nauti Studios.