Fairfielder David Rosenberg has always loved working with his hands — as a professional butcher and as the creator of whimsical clocks, lamps and flash-drive cases crafted from mechanical, industrial and household detritus.
“I guess you would describe my style as steampunk (inspired by 19th-century steam-powered machinery) or Victorian science fiction. The question I ask myself is: ‘If Jules Verne had a flash drive, what would it look like?’ ”
Although his family’s meat store, Lou’s (at the corner of Norman and State streets in Bridgeport) closed just a few weeks ago after 50 years at that location, Rosenberg said he is happy to have more time to concentrate on his art.
“My family has had butcher shops in Bridgeport for more than 100 years; it had run its course. I was working seven days a week at the store. Now, I’ll have more time to do gallery and craft shows through the region,” he said, although the Hungarian butcher has already landed part-time work at A&S, an Italian gourmet and fine meats shop in Fairfield.
“I’ve always been creative; it’s just a part of my nature,” he said. “In high school and junior high, I loved taking woodworking and metal working.” (The artist, 58, graduated from Andrew Warde High School.)
His basement and garage are full of his pieces, although they don’t hang around very long. Not only has he sold scores of his unique pieces, he has had several commissions, in which he was asked to incorporate family “treasures” (such as old golf clubs) into his lamps.
“Why leave the memories in the closet when you can have them incorporated into a special piece for the family room or home office?”
The artist, who is married with two daughters, said he also could create retirement or celebratory pieces “for any profession” imaginable or to “reflect people’s own taste” and avocations.
He calls his art business Another Bright Idea, offering “technical art with a function.” Rosenberg describes the junk he uses as “re-purposed,” found around his house or at tag sales and flea markets.
Among the diverse items are brass plumbing fixtures, hub caps, silverware, door and drawer hardware, radio and television tubes, brass shell casings from area target ranges and golf clubs. (Apparently, his golf-themed lamp creations have struck a chord with area folks; he’s already sold four from the series.)
Rosenberg said his idea for his art came about five or six years ago while he was looking through the basement and found among the clutter a plethora of leftovers from completed household projects. So he gathered up the debris and was on his way. “I can’t throw out anything,” he said, laughing. “If you asked what I’m using this or that for, I’d tell you that ‘It’s going to be something; I just don’t know what yet.’
“I’m all for ‘art for art’s sake.’ But it’s also nice to have art with a function,” he said.
“If you want a lamp, you can probably go to Target, and buy one for $10. But then, all you have is an ordinary lamp” while, he said, his creations are fun, dramatic and conversation pieces — and “made with my own two hands.”
Among the conversation starters are his business card holders that come in an array of styles from a golfer to abstract ones that light up using watch batteries for power. They start at about $35. Lamps, for example, range from about $125 to about $600. Although small works of art, his computer flash drive cases are especially decorative; he sells those for about $100.
“There are a lot of similarities between my two professions,” he said. “It’s great to own your own business, and I always loved working with my customers at Lou’s” — even providing them with family recipes and cooking tips.
“There’s great satisfaction” in knowing you’re touching people’s lives, either through food or art, he said. “You need to stay productive.”
“And with the functional art, it’s great translating old stuff into the 21st century.”
David Rosenberg’s artwork is displayed in galleries around the area. Call 203-556-9131 or email email@example.com.
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