One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure (and Work of Art)
Meet the artist who is disassembling your redundant electronics and showcasing their inner craftsmanship
Ask Matthew Cassidy how he spends most of his days and he will most likely give you one of two answers. The first, quite obviously, would be his job at a telecommunications business where he spends his 9-5. The other, would typically be his passion project quickly turned side hustle called Fragmented Frames – his way of solving puzzles. Fragmented Frames is not your typical “1000 piece” Van Gogh Starry Night puzzle. No, these puzzles are much more complex all because they work in the opposite way you think they will. Instead of putting pieces together, Cassidy takes a ready-made technology and carefully takes it apart. For Matthew, the best kinds of puzzles are less about finding out what fits and more about the entanglement of any given piece of technology. Indeed, instead of putting pieces together, Cassidy thrives on taking them apart.
Fragmented Frames is the result of a curious introspection of random things Matthew found. “I started by using cameras. The first one was just a compact point and shoot digital. Over time that expanded to using cameras of all shapes and sizes - from simple pocket size to professional SLRs. Both digital and film.” It turns out, even the most unlikely of objects can be beautiful and Matthew is the person getting to the crux of inner art (at long last.) He is up to big things by innovating and inspiring within his community and he probably won’t be stopping anytime soon. “It’s my creative outlet” he tells us, something (no matter your age or success at your career) you will want to hold onto for dear life.
"It's about giving a second life to something which would otherwise end up in a landfill."
For Matthew, Fragmented Frames is not about maximizing a profit. It is about sustaining a part of his creativity that brings him so much self loving joy – something we can definitely get behind. It turns out: even the most dated piece of technology has artistic potential.
Meet Matthew Cassidy:
Ollie Quinn: These pieces are incredibly complex and interesting - what types of objects or other materials do you use for dissected art and why?
Matthew Cassidy: I have a background in photography which naturally drew me to these pieces. I started working with the item most people use as a camera now a days: their smartphone. I also tapped into the gaming market with gaming controllers, and created a triptych with a Macintosh PowerBook from the mid ‘90s. Since expanding my reach I have had requests for custom frames that have included a Gameboy, an original PlayStation console, a stopwatch, and a POS system. I’m always game to try something new when the request comes in.
OQ: Your art uses everyday objects and takes them apart in a beautiful yet almost scientific manner. Does your art represent something beyond its aesthetic appeal?
MC: Aesthetics is a huge part of it when it comes to how the work is arranged. I strip the device down as far as it can go, and use all of the pieces that are in a good condition from that device within the frame. Beyond that, it is about giving a second life to something which would otherwise end up in a landfill. Upcycling outdated technology. Some of which is only a couple of years old - technology is made so disposable these days.
OQ: We understand that you work 9-5 at a telecommunications company, which is unrelated to this passion project. What motivates your passion outside of work?
MC: To be honest, I like a good puzzle. I find them a stress relief at the end of a long day. Keeping me focused on something that doesn’t require the same sort of mental capacity that my day job does.
OQ: Dissecting something gives it a whole new appearance, a whole new life. What is the intention behind your art?
MC: I want to give the technology that has reached the end of its days in a traditional manner, a second lease on life. As something with more visual appeal as opposed to function.
OQ: What inspires your creative process?
MC: I feed off of the great responses I receive when people first see my work and acknowledge how unique it is or when a client receives back a custom piece and is just blown away but what it looks like as a Fragmented Frame.
OQ: It’s been so great to see your work is hanging in both the Queen Street and Square One OQ Boutiques for the month of May. What is the highlight of your current Ollie Quinn take-over exhibition?
MC: Seeing the two different types of frames come together in one place. Ollie Quinn’s sleek and stylish optical frames compliment my artwork nicely. They play off one another in a beautiful way.
As part of our commitment to supporting local creators, Matthew’s work is currently exhibiting at the following boutiques:
QUEEN STREET WEST 387 Queen Street West Toronto, M5V 2A5, ON
SQUARE ONE 100 City Centre Drive Mississauga, L5B 2C9, ON