October 14, 2011
Artist interview: Dominique Corbin
We are very excited to share the work and words of incredible French artist Dominique Corbin. Dominique has been working with tinplate for 40 years and many of his recent works are automata, constructed of tinplate, wood, and other materials. At the end of this post is a link to his website, which includes a great blog and video gallery of his automata. We hope you enjoy this interview and will check out his site as well!
TG: How long have you been creating things with your hands?
DC: As long as I can remember. I started very young by destroying things like radio receivers, mechanical toys, electrical appliances (I ran into a lot of trouble with my parents!) and building with their elements a fantastic universe where I can travel, by the power of imagination. I also built toys, like a dollhouse for my sister in a little cabinet, with light and water. Things like that.
TG: What is your educational and professional background?
DC: I studied physics at the university. (Now I’ve forgotten everything!) A long time ago I was a scientist searching for renewable energies, but it was not in fashion at that time, so I quit, discouraged. I had a lot of different jobs before becoming a special-effects technician in the movie industry, which I have done for the last 25 years.
TG: When and why did you start working with tinplate and sheet metal?
DC: When I was in college, I developed a passion for electronics. I had a soldering iron and discovered the power of tinplate building! First I used it to build quick and dirty prototypes of any kind, before discovering its artistic side, building studies of automatas.
TG: How extensive is your workshop? Do you have machine tools (lathe, mill, etc.)?
DC: Two thirds of my house is devoted to different workshops, with an electronics lab, machine tools for wood and metal, etc…manual work is my job anyway!
TG: What is your favorite tool?
DC: Maybe my Leatherman tool! I always carry one.
TG: When did you start making automata and what attracted you to them?
DC: I started when I was 25, because I just love woodcarving and mechanics, so it looks evident!
TG: What inspires you the most in your work?
DC: Old toys of any sort, papercraft, old illustrations, old books on mechanics.
TG: What advice do you have for anyone just starting to work with tinplate?
DC: Go crazy! Don’t hesitate to create what comes into your mind!
Dominique, thank you so much for your time. We can’t wait to see what you do next!