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Arts & Entertainment

Trashy Beauty

by Grace Hatton, Reverb editor

photos by Wyatt Pace

There is something oddly soothing and satisfying about pouring a pile of trash on an art studio floor and a few days later seeing that pile of junk transform into a labyrinth of created flowers, grass and shrubbery. For my current painting class my fellow classmates and I decided to create something together for the Recycled Art Show.

We spent weeks collecting our assortment of trash which included beer bottles, plastic bags, straws, egg cartons, ice cream cone boxes and more. It was the aftermath of a few weeks of college living and when we started it looked like nothing. Just random crap to be thrown in a trash can. But that’s the beauty of a recycled art show. It forces you to look at things that most people would see as only filth and find the majesty within them. 

My class spent two days going through the seemingly endless pile of randomness until we began to work together like a well oiled machine. We wanted to make a wild garden. We attached old picture frames to a board for our bottom and began to create flowers, grass and other fauna with everything we had. Before we knew it our wild garden had blossomed and we smiled as we saw how various pieces of nothing had come together to create something.

Our piece sat on the coffee table in Sage Café April 18 during the Recycled Art Show. I wandered around the room where a variety of debris had been transformed and manipulated into artistry. Old typewriters had been changed into hands, a pile of seemingly unconnected trash created a tractor when a light was shined in its direction; keys were bent into hooks, spoons and wire were angled into an army of tiny robots and chunks of wood glowed thanks to the light bulb emerging from within.

In the end the army of tiny robots created by freshman David Guffey won best in show, but I had to wonder if all these other creators, whether they identify as artists or not, were participating in the show because of the possibility of winning a prize or because of the allure of this creative outlet.

Recycled art has a certain magic to it that I’ve never been lucky enough to experience before this show. It’s a particular bliss to take items that are considered expendable and repugnant and turn them into an artistic testament to rebirth, ingenuity and loveliness. 

And that specific small slice of artistic joy is something that can only be offered through the exploration and creation of recycled art. If you missed the show this year I can only hope that this little narrative of mine has whet your appetite for next year’s show and all the wonders that are sure to be created there.


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