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Moore goes 'out of his mind' for eclectic art show

by: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - John Moore stands with his Boogy Man buddy. An inscription next to the piece reads 'This character represents my battle to beat lymphoma. This event took place seven years ago. Having cancer was not as scary to me as it was MADDENING. I got angry, so I created a physical manifestation to take out the anger and put it somewhere, so I did it to the tune of .22 caliber and .357 caliber pistols.'If John Moore wrote a children’s book, he would put his boogy man in it.

“It’s only an object lesson (in fear). What do you do? You run screaming? You face ‘em. You fight back. You don’t let him scare you,” Moore chuckled while standing next to his “buddy” — a metal manifestation of Moore’s own personal boogy man.

He explained that he crafted the metal ghoul upon learning that he had lymphoma seven years ago. Then he shot several rounds of bullets through it.

“I’m going to make this guy and kill him dead,” Moore said. “He’ll be whatever is in the closet. Whatever is under the bed.”

Moore said that doctors once told him that “99 out of 100 people don’t survive what you have. Your attitude is everything.”

Moore described grueling chemotherapy treatments.

“Chemo eats up everything that grows, not just cancer,” he said. “Chemo leaves you diminished.”

But he was not to be defeated.

The inscription near the piece gleefully reads, “So... meet my very DEAD boogy man. Quite harmless now — feels good!”

“The rest of this stuff is me having fun,” Moore said, sheepishly gesturing to the rest of his show on display at the Spiral Gallery.

Let’s be clear, Moore’s show “Out of My Mind” is definitely not a downer.

Of the festively enameled metal “Winged Woman” sculpture, Moore said, “You can’t have an art show without some kind of nude figure. That’s all I’m saying.”

The eclectic show includes several metal sculptures with bright enamel coloring.

One sculpture is of a Polish Crested Chicken in an aggressive stance, inspired by a bird Moore once owned.

“I had to replicate him. I try to draw from nature as much as possible.”

Earrings — finished by torch — are in the show.

Moore explained that it would be easier to make the earrings with a kiln, but he wouldn’t be able to “do the swirly effect” without a torch.

Moore promises that his next show will be of furniture; he’s got a small table and an intricate “mermaid chair” in this one though.

The mermaid chair is the oldest piece in the show.

Sometime in the 1990s, Moore had a vision of a supper under the sea around a seashell table.

“This would be an invitation for a mermaid to sit,” Moore said of the hand worked chair that took him at least a month to complete.

Also on display is “Johnny’s Coloring Book for Insomniacs.”

Moore gathered several of his images in a coloring book in an effort to engage people in art through the act of coloring.

He hopes to have the coloring books on sale at the Spiral Gallery by the end of the month.

The show includes a collection of knives.

“Knife-making is on the high-end (of metal working),” Moore said. “It’s the high end expression of blacksmith art.”

Moore crafted his first knife out of a nail as a child.

The “Out of My Mind” show includes knives made out of railroad spikes and horn and bone handled knives.

There’s also a ceremonial sheath and dagger.

“I wanted it to represent something old and powerful that you’d use to intimidate your house guests,” Moore said.

An all-steel knife takes Moore about six hours of concentrated work to go from raw material to completed knife.

Bone and horn handled knives take longer.

“You want the shape of the blade to compliment the antler. You want it to look organic, like they go together,” he said.

The shape of one antler reminded him of the body of a shark- so he crafted the blade to suggest a shark’s head. The filings on the blade remind him of gills.

Moore explained that the steel he uses for the blades is recycled. It’s usually from broken tools he’s picked up at garage sales for 50 cents.

Moore credits his penchant for knife-making to “a lifelong fascination with anything with a blade on it.”

He attributes this to his father being a surgeon.

Moore’s father returned from World War II with a collection of knives including Nazi officer’s daggers.

“I’m sure he felt entitled to a few trophies,” Moore said.

Moore was born in 1946 in Cleveland, Ohio.

His mother’s ancestors were master sailors and Moore enjoyed fishing and sailing as a boy.

Moore welded pipes in ship yards for 28 years.

“I’m a welder. I’ve always worked with metal,” he said.

Mooore earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Oregon in 1974 but decided he didn’t have the temperament for architecture — offices weren’t for him and he didn’t “play well with others.”

Moore fell in love with drums when he learned how to play in high school.

He now plays drums for the Jim Mesi Band.

“For me to end up with a guy like that...,” Moore said reverently of the blues guitar aficionado.

The band has a new album available for purchase at their shows.

The band’s performance schedule can be found on their website, jimmesi.com/new/.

Moore and his wife own an acre and a half of land. They have goats, chickens, dogs, cats and a family of mallard ducks on their pond.

Cancer retired Moore from work, but he says it’s a hidden blessing.

“I’m doing now what I want to do,” he said.

As for what he’s doing now, Moore says, “I try to stay out of trouble.”

And he rides motorcycles.

Moore’s “Out of my Mind” will be on display at the Spiral Gallery throughout June.




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