Artist and collector Clare Graham is an expert at transforming recycled material into art reminiscent of fractal designs and elaborate patterns found in nature.
Since the 1980s, Graham has turned his Highland Park studio — he calls it MorYork — into a collection of millions of buttons, soda pop pull tabs, jigsaw puzzles, yard sticks, and Scrabble tiles that resemble pyramids, stalagmites, and kelp canopies.
Often referred to as the “Cabinet of Curiosities,” the studio originally stood as a supermarket and a roller rink in the 1930s. The 7,000 square foot building now serves as a warehouse of wonders and a display of art pieces collected from local flea markets, antique stores, and garage sales.
Over the years, Graham has spent hours mastering and crafting his art pieces. He’s created a paint by numbers cabinet constructed out of square mosaics and a vast collection of Hopi Kachina miniature dolls. He has also collected giant rows of jigsaw puzzles and yard sticks to recreate vines and pyramids.
Reporter Nic Cha Kim pays a trip to Graham’s studio in Highland Park for a closer look at the art pieces.