Peavine Peak is a mountain overlooking Reno, Nevada. I lived in Reno for a few years, and hiked Peavine often. The mountain is littered with plastic shotgun shell cases. My first thoughts were that this brightly colored litter might somehow be recycled - but it soon occurred to me that perhaps some form of art might be made from the discarded shells. They are a variety of colors, and those that have weathered in the sun can fade to lighter colors, even white sometimes.
Only after collecting and sorting these plastic casings for a while did I notice the brass casings left behind by rifle and pistol shooters. I was attracted by the exquisite variations in color and patina. Some of these are steel, some brass, some aluminum, which can be detected in the works as the highest color value, almost white. The interior of a casing, once home to its charge of gunpowder, is a deep shadow, almost black.
So there you have it: a full value scale, from the darkness of the inside of a casing, to the "white" of an aluminum shell.
I am often asked whether I am a shooter, or if my work is political, or addresses social gun issues.. I neither love, nor fear, nor hate guns. That's just not what the works are about. I may dance around the edges of something that might call attention to controversy, but mainly I am intrigued by the possibilities in this discarded metal. I hope that the art works - the ammosaics - will reflect, too, an irony, or tension, between the machined, matter-of-fact, metallic reality of a piece of ammunition, and the beauty of the subjects portrayed in the work.
As an experienced muralist, my ultimate objective is large scale commissioned work. I dream of a soaring mural that will inspire quiet awe, thought, and discussion. The richness of this discovered medium will make for an epic work of art, and I believe the day is coming when we will experience a John Ton Ammosaic of grand proportion.