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The Art of Meticulous Disassembly

Artist Todd McLellan has more patience than all of us combined. Meticulously taking apart classic objects such as a typewriter or flip clock, he breaks them down piece by piece and separates them into groups. After he places all the pieces onto a white background with all the parts laid out together, he produces exquisitely detailed images that display the inner mechanics behind the devices. But, the tireless artist did not stop there. McLellan created another series of dynamic photos that show each object disassembled again, but this time, it looks as though they're caught in mid-explosion!

We got in contact with Todd and he was kind enough to answer some of our questions. You can catch that interview, below.

What inspired you to start dissembling objects and photographing them?
I have always been into the inner workings of objects and how they are assembled. I of course started by disassembling things a little more roughly with a hammer when I was a child. With these pieces, I had these objects for many months before ending up a this point. I needed to portray the beauty of the mechanics and design within each piece and felt this way was a great way to portray that.

Do you ever get surprised at how many pieces are in an object?
I recently disassembled a 1970's espresso machine that seemed very simple from the outside with very little parts. I wasn't sure how it was going to look laid out. When I started taking it apart, the pieces just kept coming and coming. The typewriter was another one that looked like it had a lot of parts to it, but it had way more than I thought when laying them out.

It's remarkable how each piece is so perfectly positioned. Are you this detail-oriented in real-life?
I have two personalities. One that is very detail oriented and another that is the complete opposite. I have a very minimalistic decorated home. When I had two children I had to let go of that level of organization. I guess this is one way I can continue that. 😉

How long does the average object take to dissemble? Have you ever tried to reassemble them?
So far the average has taken 3 days. 1 – 2 to disassemble 1 – 2 to layout. I've disassembled my old 1st gen iPhone and then put it back together but never photographed it.

What's next for you?
This project is going to keep growing as I find the right pieces to work with. There are a few hero items that I will eventually get to as they keep getting bigger and bigger.

Thanks for the interview, Todd!

Todd McLellan's website

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