Opening up a modern day cabinet of curiosities, hidden inside a former 1930’s roller rink in Northeast Los Angeles.

Artist and collector Clare Graham is an expert at transforming recycled material into art reminiscent of fractal designs and elaborate patterns found in nature.

Artist and collector Clare Graham is an expert at transforming recycled material into art reminiscent of fractal designs and elaborate patterns found in nature.

The word 'wunderkammer' translates as 'wonder-chamber' or cabinets of curiosities; a place where a collection of curiosities and rarities is exhibited.

The word ‘wunderkammer’ translates as ‘wonder-chamber’ or cabinets of curiosities; a place where a collection of curiosities and rarities is exhibited.

Since the 1980s, Graham has turned his Highland Park studio -- known as 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.

Since the 1980s, Graham has turned his studio — known as 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.

Twenty-nine years ago, Bob Breen and Clare Graham began living together in an Arts and Crafts bungalow in Los Feliz, furnishing it by zealously shopping the flea markets and swap meets of Southern California for vintage décor. That same year, 1986, they also bought an old supermarket in a sketchy part of the city cut off by freeways

Twenty-nine years ago, Bob Breen and Clare Graham bought an old supermarket in Northeast LA’s Highland Park neighborhood. The studio originally stood as a Safeway supermarket and a roller rink in the 1930s (the lines of which can still be seen on the studios wooden floor).

 The unmarked 7,000 square foot building is located next to a Korean church on Ave 50 & York Blvd.

The unmarked 7,000 square foot building is located next to a Korean church on Ave 50 & York Blvd.

The 65-year-old obsessive collector and found-object artist stockpiles massive quantities of everyday items — bottle caps and buttons, dominoes and Scrabble tiles — in his Highland Park studio. Growing up poor in Atikokan, Canada, Graham learned the art of frugality. Nothing was worth wasting. Now the artist turns his arsenal of junk into large-scale sculptures, dreamy and ornate.

At first, a visitor to MorYork doesn’t know where to look. There's this sense of 'Harry Potter' or 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' or that you've walked into Ali Baba's cave.

He used to work at Disneyland. He was a set decorator, so it's dramatic.

It’s a dramatic space.

Different narratives are unfolding all over the room.

He loves aluminum pop tops...

He loves aluminum pop tops…

 ...and has used well over 15½ million of them in his various pop top creations.

…and has used well over 15½ million of them in his various pop top creations.

 He does not consider himself an artist, but a craftsman. Graham also does not consider MorYork a traditional gallery – he refers to it as a “neighborhood portal in the exchange of information and ideas.”

He does not see himself as an artist, but a craftsman and considers MorYork to be more of a “neighborhood portal in the exchange of information and ideas,” than a traditional gallery.

Like a trip through the mirror with Alice, MorYork inspires the imagination and Clare Graham is your tour guide.

Graham’s work is clearly informed by his travels in the worlds of art and commerce.

He studied sculpture at California State University Long Beach and subsequently spent 25 years at the Walt Disney Company, where he was a senior art director for the brand’s global network of theme parks.

He studied sculpture at CSU Long Beach and subsequently spent 25 years working as a Senior Art Director at the Walt Disney Company.

Baby Rein

Baby Rein

No Blow

No Blow

The look of worry.

The look of worry.

Puzzled

Puzzled

Lost

Lost

Though MorYork doesn’t keep official business hours, it does function as a quasi store and gallery space to the curious who wander in, and as a gathering spot for the couple and their friends. And for a time, Mr. Breen and Mr. Graham hosted visiting artists and musicians as part of a neighborhood art walk.

Though MorYork doesn’t keep official business hours, it does function as a quasi store and gallery space to the curious who wander in, and as a gathering spot for the couple and their friends. And for a time, Mr. Breen and Mr. Graham hosted visiting artists and musicians as part of a neighborhood art walk.

11728999_10153470155396484_2331324052005039170_o

I've been wanting to come here ever since I saw Huell Howser visit the space on an old episode of "California's Gold".

I’ve been wanting to come here ever since I saw Huell Howser visit the space on an old episode of “California’s Gold” and was happy to finally get a chance to see it. It truly was AMAZING!