Artist Dan Rawlings has transformed a petroleum tanker from a functional vehicle carrying fossil fuels into a piece of intricate industrial beauty, with a message about the facility of nature.
Rawlings spent four months carving out the tank to go away only a steel skeleton of tree trunks, branches and brambles, turning this once-polluting vessel into a 3D forest sculpture.
There is “definitely an environmental message”, the artist says. His designs are meant to represent nature reclaiming man-made objects.
“A lot of my work exists during this weird future where there are relics of industry being overtaken.” Rawlings is now exhibiting the tanker at the 20-21 arts centre, which is during a former church in Scunthorpe, the North Lincolnshire steel town.
Rawlings, who is predicated in Stroud, Gloucestershire, says he wants to send a message about how people don’t consider the longer term when using natural resources. “We ignore it in favour of profit,” he says.
The 10.5m (34.5ft) tanker, which had gone out of service before he bought it, is one example, he says. “I think it’s 12 years old, but it’s obsolete. No companies would use it because it’s too old, albeit it had been perfectly functional. It’s ridiculous.
“We’ve quite got the technology and therefore the scientific ability to believe the longer term and to try to to things during a way which will stop pointlessly destroying everything.”
He also wants people to believe how nature is “this weird force that i feel people underestimate”.
“The last year approximately has been a tremendous example of that,” he says. “The amount of companies that are shut for a year, then you go and appearance at their car parks and everything’s so overgrown. you cannot tell what’s temporarily closed and what’s been derelict for 10 years.”
Rawlings has made similar installations out of old cars, vans, planes and even road signs.
He first paints on the designs with a brush, then carves out the unwanted parts with a plasma cutter. “Then I’m just filing and cutting by hand and panel beating which quite thing.
“It’s very labour intensive. But that is the bit i actually enjoy.”
His current installation, titled Future Returns, is on show at the 20-21 arts centre in Scunthorpe until 25 September.