Evl Jon's Amazing World of Trash
"Sit down, grab a pile of trash" were the words that welcomed me into Evl Jon's Amazing World of Trash. Evl Jon (who used to be called Satan and decided to tone it down) says it all began as a kid - his mom used to take him to the dumps, pretty exciting for a little Jon, who "never wanted anything in his life, only a pen and paper."
Jon studied at the National School of Arts and moved on to 3D animation. He's quite the legend in the art scene, having been thrown out of gallery after gallery because people don't 'get' his work. His refusal to disinfect or stick his sculptures together because he doesn't like glue may have something to do with it. He's unemployable. He said so himself.
The collection is made up of everything from dolls and shoes to suitcases and newspapers, all from dumpsters, laid out in no particular order. Jon admits, in what could have been a clip from Hoarders, that he's addicted to trash.
He considers his four-year-old shop an artist's resource. Apart from curious kids, his customers are passers-by and photographer Roger Ballen, who pops in to rent dolls. With the streets full of kids, it doubles as an unofficial crèche with art classes on Saturdays.
I ask his opinion on the current Jozi art scene. Not a fan of traditional galleries, he said: "If you want to exhibit something, you can't just do it with a pen and paper, you have to pay for a frame." He thinks most of the work he's seen recently is shit and respects street artists more than the fine kind.
On my way out, I met the Evl bodyguard - a giant cock. Jon rescued the ill-but-now-perfectly-healthy rooster from the street; god knows what he's feeding it, but it's enormous. And territorial.
Evl Jon's Amazing World of Trash is open every day from about 11:00 and closes when it gets dark.
The upcoming exhibition encourages all artists to exhibit their work.
Photographs by Dirk Chalmers.
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