Rusty Roger's joint outside of Newstead is pretty hard to miss. Maybe it's the Austin A40 garden ornament at the front, or the bike on the roof in the "High Parking Area", whatever it was, it bespoke a mind that was a tad unusual, one could say, "edging on the Feral!"
But once you met him, you were reassured: yep, Feral!
Roger is, and is not, a sculptor. He's not insofar as he does not like to sell his work, (he tried it once, but it left a bad taste in his mouth). And yet he is to the very marrow of his soul. He looks at the world entirely through the window of his art, he's obsessed by his work, and, if he has no new materials he constantly re arranges the old to find a new spark that will excite him. He is a restless creative soul.
His "day-job" is as a gardener, but his passion is in his sculpture garden at Newstead. It is an immaculate fantasy world of his own creation.
The cottage was decrepid, overgrown, and ready for the bull-dozer, and a ready developer, when Roger chatted to the owner and convinced her that it could be saved. She agreed, and on a peppercorn rent, Roger went to work.
After hundreds of hours of work, it was an empty canvas for him to construct his vision.
Unlike Trefor Prest, discussed before, who works conventionally,(if anything about Trefor's work could be described thus): from an unconventional idea in his head through the realisation of that idea by making the object by crafting physical materials, like brass, cloth, leather, etc, Roger works in a different way.
Roger works entirely from the found object, to create sculptures that often have no relationship to those objects, but express a new vision. Where Trefor and Roger find common ground is that the works often express wit, humour, and a touch of the surreal.
The mandala of saws and cow jaw bones to the left are a case in point: how Buddhist, and yet not, when you think about the symbolism of the materials.
Or the sun symbols, a Hindu motif, made from claw hammers, and strangely reminiscent of the swastika, on the right, in the kitchen dresser.
There are large works, like the sacrificial man, which Roger alters, depending on his
mood, and made entirely of steel, if you discount the fallen peppercorn fronds, and which give the man a certain connection to nature.
But I'm rabbiting on with words again, and as I said in Trefor's article, art's visceral, not intellectual, and you just have to go and have a look. There is so much to see, it's almost overwhelming: from large cannons, and Ned Kellies, to small dogs and cats, treble clefs in the ground made from quartz, wicker bicycles, and strange abstract constructions.
Sometimes Roger is there, and sometimes he's not. E-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll give you his number.