Don Modenbach - 3d artist

Don first came into being in 1980 when his alter ego Jim was living in Cologne, Germany. 'Modenbach' was the creation of an administrator in the accounts department of the electricity supply company who came up with the moniker as they were seemingly unable to process the artist's proud Scottish surname.
Lying dormant for much of the intervening period, it somehow seemed fitting that 'Donald Modenbach' should live again, especially since this new existence is also born out of the flow of electrons - this time to bring life and form to pieces of metal in the 'Magic Garage' in Yorkshire UK. Don is a self-taught artist with a background in writing, foreign language translation and photography.

Here's Don in the Magic Garage, his progression as an artist probably began when he was living in Germany in the 1980s and this is where he bought his first 35mm camera. All of a sudden images became much more important to him and he began to order what he saw in the viewfinder as opposed to the basic snapping he'd be doing with various 'Instamatics' up to that point. On returning to the UK and when he had his own house with a cellar, one of the first tasks was to construct a darkroom.

Don's photography moved onward; he joined a photography group 'Counterimage' in Manchester, UK and took part in workshops*,  joint projects and exhibitions. He learned advanced printing techniques, studied and endeavoured to apply Ansel Adams'  Zone System methodology while working with medium format and 5x4 cameras. Don took a lot of pictures, and to this day still has bulging files of negatives and an extensive print portfolio.

Leaping forward to the present day sees Don is now approx two years in as a committed 'artist', although as needs must, he still carries out some translation (GE>EN) and editing work to help him get by. 

Don finds himself influenced by, among others, Giacometti, Picasso, Miro and HR Giger.

*At one of whch Don's work came under the scrutiny of the now cult and uber trendy Martin Parr, who dubbed it 'meaningless'!

In the early 90s Don spent some time with HR Giger in a translation role and some of his influence seems to have unwittingly rubbed off - certainly this is noticeable in Don's 'Skeletal' figures.

Most of Don's work is carried out using a simple 'stick welder', i.e. electric welding where there is no electrode shielding gas - this technique generates a layer of carbon slag which has to be chipped from the weld and gives Don's work its now trademark heavily textured, somewhat organic appearance. 

Don sits relatively firmly in the category of simple artist who wants to make something that looks 'right' and has aesthetic appeal.

Don's other major artistic activity is heavy metal music - he's a practitioner of the tenor valve trombone, which is pretty heavy and made of brass. It all started with Dizzy Gillespie making him buy a trumpet and went on from there. Don currently plays his beastly 'bone in a 13 piece latin band.

 Don with some of his 'meaningless' b/w prints

Education 

1968 - 1975

Moseley Hall Grammar School for Boys

1975 - now

MHGS was a good school, however Don's intelligence transcended the fetters imposed by the exam system and the world of 'further education' was to be forever deprived of Don's presence within it.

 © 2019 Jim Murdoch all rights reserved

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