People do lots of different thing when they have a few minutes of down time at their jobs. They might read a book, surf the Web or chat with co-workers. When Daniel Eggleston has a few minutes to kill at his job, he creates one-of-a-kind sculptures with nothing more than some masking tape and colored markers.
Eggleston, who's celebrating his 32nd birthday Monday, is autistic, and works in work program in Fountain Valley. He began creating his art about 12 years ago when he first moved to Orange County and began a quest to create a life-sized velociraptor. He eventually discovered that masking tape was an effective -- and easy to come by -- medium to work with. He's since created dozens of sculptures, many of which he gives as gifts to the staff at Elwyn. And while the final product certainly looks very much like art to the outside observer, Eggleston said it's really just a product of his desire to create thigns he can't find elsewhere.
"I don't really get inspiration," he said. "When I want something, I have to make it."
Eggleston specializes in dinosaurs, and talking to him about the sculptures isn't unlike talking with a museum guide or even a paleontologist. He knows every intimate detail about his subjects, including their full scientific names. Egglestons learned about dinosaurs from his father, a pastor who's also a firm beleiver in evolution. The contradiction isn't lost on Eggleston, who said he wants to follow in his father's footsteps in terms of being liberal and wanting to help the poor.
As for his artistic influences, Eggeston's much less Matisse, and much more Mattel. He considers toys art, and looking at the results of his work, it's hard to argue. In fact, he once saved a mortally wounded toy allosaurus by molding cotton balls and Gorilla Glue into a sort of plastic. He's a pretty smart businessman as well. When I tell him I couldn't possibly take his tyrannosaurus rex sculpture for just $10, he's quick with a reply.