Few people would credit ephemera with saving their life, but that is a claim that Lex made. He developed a ‘real feel’ for ephemera while recovering from a broken back and since then seeking out thematic pieces and re-creating them into artworks has become his mission.
A handwritten letter of encouragement from Don Bradman in 1999 has kept Lex out of a wheelchair and though still in constant pain gave him the impetus to keep active and be positive. He was greatly impressed that Sir Don who had so recently lost his beloved wife Jessie and was not himself in good health could find such motivating words for a stranger.
This ignited a huge passion for the life and times of ‘the Don’, the game of cricket during his era, the history of the sport and anything that touched on his life. This could encompass the aviation adventures of Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith in The Southern Cross or the cartoon character Ginger Meggs; all link up in some way. Lex shuns commercially produced memorabilia but loves the real stuff which as he says “knocks my socks off”. The discovery, research and making connections with newspaper clippings, autographs, photographs and score cards from which he constructs collages may take two weeks or six months.
Having taught himself picture framing, Lex contacted Artlab Australia, the Adelaide based facility for the conservation of cultural materials to understand some of the principles used in the field and ensure that he follows sound practices. He has become an artist, using ephemera as his medium. A work entered into the Adelaide Royal Show won second prize in 2004 and Onkaparinga Council commissioned him to create the award for first prize for the Tour Downunder bicycle race. For this he stiffened an Australian flag to be permanently rippling with gold-coated cyclists riding down the ripples. Other recognition for his absorbing pastime was presentation of a Centenary of Federation medal for conducting tours of the Bradman Collection at the State Library of South Australia.
Would that we could all find our hobbies so rewarding.
David Harris interviewed Lex. If you would like to contact Lex please use the comments section and we will pass the message on.