Salvage, Art, and Inspiration
Jul 18
I love creativity and art, and I do not believe art is limited to paintings on walls or any traditional material. Many of my friends create art - they build decks, make jewelry, paint, start companies, weave, knit, design and construct insanely beautiful houses, grow incredible gardens, sew, and weld. Many of them use recycled or salvaged materials in their art, whether in construction or jewelry making.

Watching my friends create is inspirational - and validating and reassuring. There are many, many people in our world who think about trash and re-use and how our choices impact the environment. If you find yourself in need of inspiration, or just want to watch artists in action, here are some viewing options that will show you endeavors more impressive than you've ever imagined possible. For example, check out this video of Ethan Estess, who is an artist in residence at Recology (Eve - thanks for the this link!). For four months he went through garbage and made works of art - entirely from trash. Did you see the rope whale-tale? Amazing.

On an even bigger scale, have you seen the movie Wasteland? Artist Vic Muniz stationed himself in the landfills of Rio to make art with the people who survive by picking through trash for recyclable material to sell. It is awe-inspiring. The creations are stunning, and again generate the question - how the hell did they do that?

As someone who loves art and loves trash, these people fill me with glorious, soul-crushing envy. I drool over their skill and creativity. Here's another - an artist who makes birds out of typewriter parts - and there is no welding involved! How is that possible? Talent - pure talent and vision. And, hand-eye coordination.

It is human nature to think we can do things we cannot - and should not - do. I think that if I learned to weld, I could create art. (Ah, the beauty of a good delusion.) Welding would mean a quick trip to the emergency room for me with the possibility of limbs lost or worse. But you, dear reader, might not be similarly limited. My friends Shannon and Dennis recently turned old rebar plus bathtub feet into props to hold up plants in their yard (see pics above). Scrap plus welding become art and functionality just like that. Welding is a wonderful skill. So is imagination and the ability to pound a nail or operate a saw (any saw). If you're fortunate enough to have a skill, don't let it go to waste - use it and your scrap or trash to create something stunning. Inspiration is all around you. And please send me some photos so we can revel in your creative adventures!
 

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