This Artist Transforms Puddles Into Stunning Masterpieces

published Feb 2, 2018
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(Image credit: Jeffrey Michael Austin)

Although we generally regard random pools of water as slippery, messy shoe destroyers to be avoided at all costs, we’re strangely enthralled by how Chicago-based musician and artist Jeffrey Michael Austin has turned puddles into a captivating collection of artwork. Much like children and birds, Austin is drawn to puddles, applying his imagination and artistic skills to create sculptures that make the aftermath of spillage look absolutely stunning.

Among Austin’s liquid-like creations are Strange Mess, a tipped over yellow splash guard mop bucket sitting in a puddle that bears the reflection of a star-filled nebula, and Puddles, a wispy, cloud-reflecting piece made from resin, paint, digital prints and remnants of a cup and other assorted objects found by the artist that help enhance the impact of the illusion. Austin also created a limited edition of lenticular color-changing spills, a sculpture of a Styrofoam cup partially submerged in colored liquid.

“The Puddles came from my desire to make work that at first glance feels mundane and unassuming, a candid situation you wouldn’t immediately regard as or associate with an art experience,” Austin told Colossal. “I’d hoped that in this way they would gently present themselves as yet another detail of your natural environment, before then unfurling with a kind of subtle and surprising magic — an extraordinary quality that you have to grapple with for a moment before facing it with any criticality.”

After creating his simulated puddles, Austin positions them on random city sidewalks and streets and photographs them, many of which can be seen on his Instagram page.

Austin’s puddle artwork has already made its rounds at exhibitions throughout the Midwest, including a stop at the Luminary in St. Louis, SideCar Gallery in Hammond, Indiana, Enos Park and DEMO Project in Springfield, Illinois and the University Galleries at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois.