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Chakaia Booker’s Art: Where the Rubber Meets the Road, Part 2

One of the surprising success stories in the world of recycling is that of discarded tires. Of the 303.2 million scrap tires generated in 2007 – that’s one for every person living in the United States – nearly 90 percent by weight were recycled, according to the most recent figures from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency.

More than half of all reclaimed tires in the U.S. are used to fuel factories. They can also be used to treat wastewater, or made into asphalt, playground equipment, carpet padding, shoes — and more tires.

In the hands of Chakaia Booker, they can also become remarkable sculptures. A preferred medium for this New York-based artist, she deconstructs used tires then cuts, shapes and folds them into massive and highly textured shapes with supports made from steel, wood and other materials, which are hidden from view.

Booker’s work first attracted international notice in 2000, when a 12.5′ x 21′ wall relief of shredded and rewoven automobile tires, inner tubes and cow milking pods titled “It’s So Hard to Be Green” was part of the Whitney Biennial. Since then her sculptures have become part of the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Akron Museum of Art and NASA, among others. She has participated in both group and solo exhibitions in museums and sculpture gardens throughout the US, Japan and the Netherlands. She has received the Pollock-Krasner Grant in 2002 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005.

It's So Hard to be Green by Chakaia Booker

It’s So Hard to be Green by Chakaia Booker.

Detail: It's So Hard to be Green by Chakaia Booker

Detail: It’s So Hard to be Green by Chakaia Booker.

Working with tires requires special skills. “It takes a lot of body work,” she said when describing how she must first cut through the tires, which each weigh 15 to 20 lbs — and she goes through 1000s of them in her studio, an old laundry facility in Allentown, Pennsylvania. “The tires com from streets and landfills, from cars, vans and trucks.”

Many of her sculptures are exhibited out of doors. Recently, four of her sculptures have been displayed in the median of a major highway, New York Avenue, outside the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC from March 8, 2012-April, 2014. This unique installation is the result of the museum’s partnership with several public and private agencies to produce and maintain the exhibit for the enjoyment of both drivers and pedestrians. It is the museum’s second exhibit on this median which is the only public art space in the city featuring installations of contemporary works by women. Images from the Booker exhibit on New York Avenue are below.


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Chakaia Booker, Gridlock, 2008; © Chakaia Booker, courtesy of Marlborough Gallery, New York; Photo credit: Lee Stalsworth.

Booker, is also known for her creative wardrobe and wants her appearance to also be a work of art. She often wears a giant headpiece made from multicolored yarn layered into an oblong mound, colorful fabric or tire rubber that covers all her head but the shape of her face. She said, “When I get up each day, I begin with myself, as far as sculpting myself.” Her sense of unconventional style began early, and goes back to her childhood when she learned to sew and ignored the rules.

Photo of Chakaia Booker by Nelson Tejada.

Photo of Chakaia Booker by Nelson Tejada.

Her online bio is not up-to-date. But you can learn more by watching videos, such as this short talk given in 2008.

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Behind the Scenes: Lost and Found Art Supply Chain

Note from Reena: As a tribute to artists who transform cast-off products into vibrant designs, sometimes enriched with dings and markings of their previous lives, and who often go to great lengths to locate and transport these materials to their studios, we reprint a behind-the-scenes blog we wrote about them in 2011.

Artists who work with found materials recognize the creative potential in discarded materials and transform them into intriguing objects for us to enjoy or use. But finding those materials is not like going to the store to buy a tube of paint. By definition, the supply of found objects depends on the vagaries of nature, both human and environmental.

Like farmers, who despite their best planning and hard work are always at the mercy of the weather, artists recycling or repurposing materials depend on the original owners to throw the objects away in the first place.  Because, here at Eco-Artware we work with designers who create multiples of their original work; we see these market forces at work every day.

Cuff links made with Washington, D.C. Trolley Tokens

Cuff links made with Washington, D.C. Trolley Tokens. Streetcars carried people throughout the city between 1862-1962. They scaled back with the popularity of the automobile and the city eventually switched to buses and a metro system.

For example, old subway and trolley tokens are plentiful when they are discontinued and transit systems first introduce new ones. Once the obsolete ones are snapped up by collectors, the supply dwindles because no more tokens are issued. For instance, we carry cuff links made from Washington, DC trolley tokens which the designers purchased from the D.C. Department of Transportation. But, unlike the Department of Transportation in other cities, they did not purchase old ones from the commuters so the city had no more to sell. Now the designers hunt them from private sources and our supply is uncertain–we just waited for eight months to get a few more pairs in stock.

Boris Bally's Pentatray handmade from a speed limit traffic-sign.

Boris Bally's Pentatray handmade from a speed limit traffic-sign.

Boris Bally's Speed Limit Transit Chair

Boris Bally's Speed Limit Transit Chair.

In the case of Boris Bally’s popular traffic-sign home furnishings, he can only make as many chairs and trays as there are retired signs. If a highway department decides to keep its Speed Limit signs up a little bit longer, Boris has to make them out of, say, directional signs until the Speed Limit signs are finally available to him.

Expandable bracelet made from ostrich shells by Namibian Bushmen with a black accent bead.

Expandable bracelet made from ostrich shells by Namibian Bushmen with a black accent bead.

And now the long arm of the law of supply and demand is reaching into ostrich farms. Namibian farmers used to donate shells from hatched ostrich eggs to local Bushmen (members of the San tribe) who have made jewelry with them for thousands of years.  Their donations provided bushmen with a livelihood and helped them preserve their culture and way of life.

San women making beads from ostrich shells using traditional techniques

San women making beads from ostrich shells using traditional techniques.

Now most farmers have found other uses for the shells and no longer donate them to the bushmen. Until they can find another source of income, missionaries are donating food to these tribes while helping them acquire new skills and adjust to changing times. However, there is a limited supply and we carry their bracelets when available.

Artists who rely on the discards of others face a continuing challenge to collect materials. That’s what makes these objects so dear to us. They are the expression of the artist’s creativity with what’s available. All we need is the long view and patience.

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Beyond Store Bought: Eco-Chic Gift Wrap

I belong to a group of conservers — environmentalists who hate throwing anything out. An artist friend is known to ask her husband to stop the car when she sees interesting trash on the side of the road. “Art supplies,” she explains.

When I realized that most gift wrap bought in stores was eco-unfriendly, I started exploring ways to wrap gifts in ways that looked good while leaving a light footprint. It was a great way to use up some of the paper and cloth supplies I couldn’t throw away.

Overall, it’s not so easy being green. We’ve all got our own long checklists of things we could (or wish) do: use solar panels, drive a Chevrolet Volt, grow an organic garden, for instance. These are big moves. But something as seemingly inconsequential as gift wrap can have a large impact on the world around us while adding pleasure to the gift-giving experiences for both parties.

Christmas morning

A familiar scene for many — Christmas morning after presents have been unwrapped.

For instance:

  • The U.S. generates an extra 5 million tons of trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day – 80 percent is wrapping paper and shopping bags.
  • If every American family wrapped three gifts in re-used materials, we’d save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
  • If every American family reused two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.

And, remember, our landfills are getting full. The Los Angeles Sanitation District closed the Puente Hills Landfill, the largest in the nation on Oct. 31 — it had been operating since 1960. According to our research, the average expected life of landfills in Maryland, Virginia, and Massachusetts is 20 years.

Expanding your wrap repertoire is easy. It doesn’t take much time to do and you can save money on supplies. Here are some ideas.

Gifts wrapped in a wrapping cloth, shirt, scarf, a pillow case, gift bags and a towel.

Gifts wrapped in a wrapping cloth, shirt, scarf, a pillow case, gift bags and a towel.

Use cloth wrap, which can be reused — scarves, towels, pillow cases, shopping bags. Use traditional Japanese and Korean wrapping techniques or just fold the cloth and tie it with ribbon.

Gifts wrapped in Trader Joe's shopping bags, two different scraps of wrapping paper plus bands of scrap papers and old maps.

Gifts wrapped in Trader Joe’s shopping bags, two different scraps of wrapping paper plus bands of scrap papers and old maps.

Reuse last year’s wrapping paper. If wrinkled, press lightly with a cool iron. If one piece of paper doesn’t cover the package, cover one side and use another piece of paper in a different pattern for the opposite side. Or, use paper bags. If they don’t have a good design on the outside, turn them inside out.

Combine used materials if one source won't cover by itself.

Combine used materials if one source won’t cover by itself.

If you want to see additional examples for ideas and inspiration, check out our Eco-Gift Wrap Pinterest Board, which has over 1,000 examples of gift wrap for your reference and convenience.

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Fit To Be Tied

Scarves and shawls. Style pages are filled with beautiful people wearing them in winter and summer.

Angelina Jolie wearing winter scarves

Angelina Jolie wearing winter scarves.

Helen Mirren, Anne Hathaway and Halle Berry wearing lighter weight scarves.

Helen Mirren, Anne Hathaway and Halle Berry wearing lighter weight scarves.

I treasure wearing winter scarves, especially, because they add color to my black winter coat and lift my spirits during grey days while keeping me warm. Fashion writers point out that a scarf can be the most important accessory needed to add spice to a wardrobe without breaking the bank. Well, that depends on your budget. Even on eBay, some scarves cost as much, if not more, than sweaters by well-known designers.

Video on How to Tie Winter Scarves.

However, if you have time to hunt, you can find excellent scarves at budget prices at clothing swaps, thrift stores, flea markets, church bazaars (especially if you buy something in the last two hours of the event), department store markdowns and street vendors.

How to Tie Scarves for Everyday Use.

How to Tie Your Scarf in 3 Ways

“When you buy a scarf, hold it up to your face and look in a mirror,” advises a friend who wears scarves often and effortlessly and shared her wisdom gained from experience. “It’s important to see how them look with your coloring because they are worn close to your face. Also, look at a few of them. They should make you look and feel wonderful, even if you are not wearing makeup.”

Here are scarf styling suggestions on Pinterest.

Below is one of several videos showing men how to tie scarves, too.

7 Ways to Wear a Scarf for Men.

Once you’ve found the right scarves for you, the internet, Pinterest and YouTube videos offer instruction in learning new ways to wear them. Some techniques work best with silk-like fabrics rather than wool; narrow rather than square; large rather than small. Another friend brought me an ample viscose winter scarf — larger than I usually wear — as a souvenir from her trip to France, and I look forward to checking out YouTube to learn how to wear it.

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Leo Sewell: From Scrounger to Sculptor

Artist Finds His Muse in Refuse

Leo Sewell grew up playing with objects he found in the dump near his home. He pulled them apart for fun until his parents suggested that he try putting them together. He’s been doing just that for over 50 years.

Sewell is considered a Visionary artist, a category reserved for the self-taught, but he is highly educated in other areas. He earned a B.A. in Economics and an M.A. in Art History, writing his master’s thesis on the “Use of the Found Object in Dada and Surrealism.” Then he decided to jump from academic to creator, having taken “one 50-minute art class” in his life. This illustrates his philosophy that “chance is the greatest creative force that can happen.”

Pig by Leo Sewell

No Feeding Required: Pig by Leo Sewell, found object assemblage. 9″ x 16″ x 4″

Sewell creates highly decorated sculptures out of castoffs, assembled with nails, bolts and screws in a process he has evolved over time. Both the frame and surface of each sculpture is made from found materials, with finished pieces ranging in size from a full-grown housecat to a 24-foot-long dinosaur. For some commissions, he includes objects with personal meaning contributed by the person who commissioned the art.

Sewell has plenty of raw materials at hand. His large workshop is packed with art supplies picked from the streets of Philadelphia — 100,000 discarded objects carefully organized into 2,500 categories such as gold-coated sharks’ teeth, corn holders and Fisher-Price people.

Statue of Libery's Arm and Torch by Leo Sewell. This 40' sculpture is made entirely of discarded toys and games is housed in Philadelphia's Please Touch Children's Museum. It is a same size adaptation of the Statue of Liberty's original arm and torch was displayed in 1876 to raise funds for its pedestal.

Statue of Liberty’s Arm and Torch by Leo Sewell.

During his career, Sewell has produced over 4,000 sculptures created from found obects , which are included in over 40 museums worldwide, including several children’s museums, and in both private and corporate collections. To learn more about his work, visit his Wikipedia page, and watch a short video about his January, 2013 exhibit in Old City, Philadelphia.

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Nick Bubash’s Many, Many Artistic Hats

Black and white photo of Nick Bubash

Nick Bubash in his studio. A few masks, collected on his travels, are displayed on the wall behind him. Photo by John Wyatt

Nick Bubash is a trained artist who works in many different media. He started young and took art classes on Saturdays when he was growing up in Pennsylvania. He studied art at Pennsylvania State University, but before graduating he moved to New York City.

By chance, he went to get his first tattoo from Thom DeVita, who also created assemblages and collages. Bubash, who immediately felt comfortable with the artist and his ideas, stayed in New York to learn the art of tattooing from DeVita from 1969-1974. He left to open his own tattoo shop in Pennsylvania.

With DeVita’s encouragement, he resumed formal art training in the 1980s. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of The Fine Arts, where he graduated with highest honors and won prizes in for figurative sculpture, printmaking and a scholarship to study and travel in India.

Returning to the U.S., Bubash opened a tattoo studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in a small two-story office building. Here he also creates assemblages from finds from travels to small markets in India, thrift stores, yard sales and pieces of his daughter’s broken toys. He also has a studio for painting and clay sculpting.

Bubash also tattoos almost every day of the week — a skill which draws on his extensive training and study to create the infinite variety of styles and ideas requested by his clients.

Self Portrait by Nick Bubash

“Self Portrait” by Nick Bubash. 3′ x 2.5′ Composed of shells, peacock feathers, porcupine quills, pearls, fur ad cow vertebrae mounted on paper. Bubash has created several self portraits because he said, “The model always shows up.”

Bubash is currently exhibiting 33 sculptural assemblages at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh through September 15, and two mixed media pieces and a drawing with watercolor in the Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, through August 31. For the past 25 years, his work has been included in numerous permanent museum collections, including The Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and private collections across the country.

Long Awaited Arrival by Nick Bubash

“Long Awaited Arrival.” Assemblage by Nick Bubash. 12″ x 18″ x 20″. The base is 18″ x 12″ wide. Bubash created the walnut base to fit his assemblage. The composition consists of marbles, porcupine quills, children’s blocks, an old wooden toy car, copper flowers. Bubash sculpted the torso. The elephant head is readymade from rubber; Bubash sculpted an addition to the trunk to make it longer.

To learn more about Nick Bubash, visit his website.

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Eco-Friendly Picnics for Your Sustainable Summer

Note from Reena:  Because this is the season for outdoor entertaining, I asked Sister Eden, aka Lori Hill, a Maryland-based, green lifestyle consultant, for permission to reprint her recent blog offering advice for picnicking in style without disposable plates, paper napkins and ice chests filled with individual bottles of beverages. Personally,  I’m still looking for a well-designed spork to carry at all times to all places.  If you have any recommendations for great sporks or additional green picnic tips, please let us know.

Nothing says summer like a picnic in a beautiful place. Sandwiches lemonade, familiar blankets, ants…

Delicious food prepared for a beach picnic.

Delicious food prepared for a beach picnic.

But picnics aren’t always as earth-friendly as you might think. Wrappers get blown away by breezes, winding up in streams and on roadsides. Those red plastic cups end up in landfills or crushed underfoot. And paper plates get tossed in the trash, the epitome of a use-once-and-destroy product. But by taking a little more time, and thinking sustainably, a picnic can be an enjoyable and eco-friendly summertime activity. Whether it’s an early evening date or a family extravaganza, follow these tips to make your picnic green!

In our plastic-loving culture, it seems like everything comes in a disposable version – including disposable picnic blankets! Instead of adding to the waste stream, use a cloth picnic blanket. You don’t need to go out and buy a new one — this is where the “reuse” of the Three Rs comes in. Use an old, worn-down blanket or a flat bed sheet that you don’t use anymore. Grass stains don’t matter on an item that’s meant to go on the ground! Cloth blankets have the added advantage of just being more comfortable – no crinkling, shifting plastic beneath you while you try to eat! If you don’t have a blanket that you can repurpose, thrift stores are a great resource for affordable pre-owned blankets or sheets.

A 1953 picnic

A 1953 picnic. People used thermos bottles which resulted in less waste to clean up than we have today.

Speaking of plastic, stay away from one-use plastic cups, plates and cutlery. They usually can’t be recycled and end up in landfills where they will take years — even decades — to biodegrade. They are also made of petroleum. Do you really want to be eating off of that? Choose something plant-based such as bamboo, molded palm, corn or potato-based disposables. If you want to use a paper plate, be sure you use one made of recycled paper. Large chains such as Party City carry eco options as do many grocery stores, including Whole Foods. If the store near you doesn’t provide eco options, ask for them to build up demand!

Finally, how to transport that lemonade? Don’t buy a two-liter bottle, or even a charming glass bottle of store-made lemonade. Stainless steel thermoses, like Kleen Kanteen’s many options, last for years, and keep your beverages cold and free from bugs. Plus, with homemade lemonade, you don’t need to worry about preservatives and artificial sweeteners. You know exactly what you’ve put in there!

An Igloo® 5 Gallon Water Cooler. If you can’t find any in Goodwill or other thrift stores, there are several listed online.

An Igloo® 5 Gallon Water Cooler. If you can’t find any in Goodwill or other thrift stores, there are several listed online.

If you have a big crowd, use large containers to store beverages vs. individual bottles of water and lemonade. Back in the day when we had family reunions and plastic bottles were non-existent (I think that qualifies me as old!), we’d put cold water, lemonade and other drinks in a big five-gallon insulated beverage coolers.  We still do that! It costs a lost less and you eliminate all the waste of plastic bottles and half-consumed beverage bottles.

These tips will help you have a fun and eco-friendly picnic afternoon. Be sure to collect all of your waste before you leave. Compost and recycle what you can and if that means taking it with you to dispose of at home, so be it!  Mama Earth  — and your fellow picnic goers — will appreciate it!

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Vollis Simpson, Found Materials Artist, Dies at 94

Vollis Simpson working on a whirligig. Photo by Burke Uzzle.

Vollis Simpson working on a whirligig. Photo by Burke Uzzle.

Vollis Simpson, a self-taught artist who lived in Lucama, North Carolina, died at his home on May 31, 2013. He was internationally known for his idiosyncratic, wind-powered whirligigs (he called them windmills) made from old fans, washing machine parts, recycled steel, aluminum and other industrial salvage. “I had a lot of junk and had to do something with it,” he once said.

Simpson started out fixing things that broke down on the farm where he grew up. A self-taught engineer, he built his first windmill using a junked B-29 bomber to power a washing machine in Saipan, where he was stationed during the WWII. He worked in the equipment repair business after he returned from the service.

Close up of a whirligig decoration by Vollis Simpson

Close up of a whirligig decoration by Vollis Simpson.

Simpson started a house-moving business in 1985, building his own tow-trucks to move the houses. He also began using junked equipment parts to build huge wind-powered machines — some up to 60 feet tall — in his spare time. One windmill powered a heating system for his home.

Simpson’s work became known to a wider world when Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, founder of the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, invited him to provide a permanent outdoor sculpture for the museum’s opening in 1995. He came up with one you can’t miss — three stories high, it weighs three tons and is covered with highway reflectors so it can be seen both night and day.

A group of Simpson's kinetic sculptures.

A group of Simpson’s kinetic sculptures.

Subsequently, Simpson’s client list extended to include four sculptures for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta; a Christmas window for New York City’s Bergdorf Goodman department store to design in 2009; a shopping center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the American Folk Art Museum in New York City.

All work remaining on his farm will be moved and exhibited in the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, scheduled to open in November in Wilson, North Carolina, about 10 miles from his home. The North Carolina legislature has approved a measure making whirligigs the state’s official folk art.


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Find It, Plant It, Grow It

I like to garden, but live on the first floor of a sprawling four-story condo in Washington, DC.  Because I prefer to look at the world through lush green shapes and a blaze of color, I cover all the windowsills with windowboxes and potted plants and hang flower baskets from the protective bars outside my windows.

I bought my original pots at garden stores and yard sales. But when a clay windowbox cracked this winter and I could no longer find a replacement in the right size, I discovered that my recycled oatmeal tins fit the space perfectly, even better than store-bought pots. They look good with the terra cotta containers and add quirkiness to the arrangement.  A passerby contributed a tiny Statue of Liberty to the windowsill — another little surprise in my found-art urban garden.

Window ledge garden arrangement of clay and tin can flowerpots with a small statue

Window ledge garden arrangement of clay and tin can flowerpots with a small statue.

Gardening in found containers is popular all over. Fine Garden Art of Bedrock Gardens in New Hampshire creates one-of-a-kind planters and art for the garden from seemingly anything they can find. Their eco-friendly containers start out as anything from old Magnavox record-player “horns” to massive boilers and repurposed tubs.

Fine Garden Art's Blue Speaker Planters are made from old loudspeakers with interesting stands.

Fine Garden Art’s Blue Speaker Planters are made from old loudspeakers with interesting stands. The designers suggest planting bold annuals in them.

Old tires have sprouted plants almost since Goodyear discovered how to make them out of rubber. Now gardeners can also help keep some of the 250 million tires discarded each year from the landfill in style. For a touch of whimsy, GiddyUp Swings, which also makes backyard tire swings, crafts an entire line of hanging planters in the shape of tropical birds entirely from discarded tires.

The Blue/Gold Macaw Planter and the Green Parrot planters, made from old tires, are made by GiddyUp Swings.

The Blue/Gold Macaw Planter and the Green Parrot planters, made from old tires, are made by GiddyUp Swings.

DIY gardeners can easily create more straightforward tire planters, either plain or painted, with few tools.

Tire planters can be arranged in many ways on the ground.

Tire planters can be arranged in many ways on the ground.

Hanging tire planter

Hanging tire planter.

Vintage bathtubs are spacious containers for large plants and impressive clusters of colorful flowers. They are also a good place for a city dweller to grow root vegetables.

Bathtub containers are attractive either painted, or plain.

Bathtub containers are attractive either painted, or plain.

For additional articles on found garden art see:

Garden Art – Not What It Used to Be
Timmerman Daugherty’s Weird Gardens

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Dumpster Artists

While a growing number of craftsmen are working with other people’s discards, Recology, a California resource recovery company, actually pays artists to turn trash into art.

<em>Crazy Quilt</em> by Remi Rubel.  1991. Built from bottlecaps and other metal objects

“Crazy Quilt” by Remi Rubel. 1991. Built from bottlecaps and other metal objects.

In 1990 Recology began a unique art and education program. The company selected artists to work full time for four months in a large, well-equipped studio next to its transfer station in San Francisco. The transfer station is located within a 46-acre property that includes several recycling facilities and the public disposal area (aka “the dump”). Most of San Francisco’s garbage  is temporarily stored at this site before moving on to a landfill elsewhere in California.
Recology changed its name from Norcal Waste Systems in 2009 to reflect its corporate culture and values. More than a private, employee-owned waste management company, the company wants to encourage people to reuse material, think about new ways to conserve resources, and support local, professional artists.

Mum - Sea Breeze 2012 by Karrie Hovey

“Mum — Sea Breeze” by Karrie Hovey. 2012. Made from books, latex paint, particle board, and a metal table ring.

Artists are selected by an advisory board of environmentalists, artists and curators; each recipient receives a $1,000 monthly grant to cover basic personal bills.

<em>Audrey Hepburn Dress</em> by Estelle Akamine. 1993. Made from foam sheets, plastic bags, six-pack holders

“Audrey Hepburn Dress” by Estelle Akamine. 1993. Made from foam sheets, plastic bags, six-pack holders.

At the end of each residency, the company holds a free public reception and exhibition of the artist’s work in the company’s studio. As visitors enter, they are confronted with a mountain of trash. They then see how imagination turns discards into meaningful objects. 
The artists roam the  public disposal area with shopping carts, collecting different types of trash. One may look for furniture, trinkets, photos and other personal objects, for found object collages, while another looks for raw materials such as wood, painted metal or wire for assemblage.

3711 x 13510 by Zachary Royer Scholz. 2010. Constructed from pine and paint

“3711 x 13510” by Zachary Royer Scholz. 2010. Constructed from pine and paint.

Some of the trash art is exhibited permanently in Recology’s three-acre sculpture garden atop a hill overlooking the San Francisco Bay. The garden is located between the garbage and recycling facilities and the Little Hollywood neighborhood. Many pieces from the program are also exhibited in office buildings, schools and other public or private spaces in the city. The garden is a stop for students on one of the 160 tours held throughout the year. 

A new exhibit, “The Art of Recology” can now be seen in the United Terminal at the San Francisco International Airport. Celebrating the Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence program, it presents over 100 works by 45 artists, made during the time they worked in the studio at the Solid Waste Transfer and Recycling Facility. It will be on public view through October 27. Below are images of art included in this exhibit.

Styrofoam Hummer H1 by Andrew Junge

“Styrofoam Hummer H1 (low mileage, always garaged)” by Andrew Junge. 2005. Constructed from styrofoam, lumber and steel.

Last Dive at the Farallones by Ethan Estess

“Last Dive at the Farallones: 100,000 marine mammals killed per year” by Ethan Estess. 2012. Created with wood, Styrofoam, wood flooring adhesive, super glue, screws, and rope.

To learn more, visit the Recology website.

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