Dianna Cohen is a painter, but she doesn’t use a paint brush. Trained at UCLA, she gave up the brush for materials most people consider trash: bags, boxes, little pieces of plastic. This year, she helped to found the Plastic Pollution Coalition. After twenty years, she finally started to get the messages from her own art. During my weekend in L.A., Dianna put me up in her art studio. I got to live with her artwork for three days and pick up a few messages myself.
Over lunch, Dianna explained to me about her art process and her passion for protecting the environment. While in college, she became intrigued with the different shades of brown paper bags and began creating collages, stitching them together with a needle and thread. One of my favorite pieces is this beautiful abstract piece made with cardboard boxes:
Her interest in plastic bags arose at a homeopathic shop in Belgium that provided the bags with colorful flowers printed on them. Dianna … Read the rest
Kathleen Egan — surfer, artist, and environmental activist — heads up SF Surfrider’s Plastics Subcommittee, which is working to end the plague of plastic pollution in our oceans. I first met her last month displaying her Plastic Wave sculpture (made from the collected plastic of 12 friends over two weeks) at Adventure Ecology’s SMART Art competition.
We met again this past Friday and ended up hanging out at San Francisco’s Pier 29-1/2 (where David de Rothschild is building his Plastiki boat from recycled plastic) after an unfortunate collision between a U-Haul trailer and a metal warehouse gate. Sitting and waiting for the repair people to arrive gave us a chance to see a glimpse of the Plastiki in progress, play with a couple of cute dogs, and enjoy the sun while chatting about all things plastic.
Kathleen began surfing in 2001 after moving to San Francisco and having a surfer friend take her under his wing, and … Read the rest
If Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake,” back in the 18th Century, I wonder what she’d say now confronted with sea birds and turtles starving on our plastic waste. Such were the kinds of thoughts I had last night viewing the new exhibit, SMART Art — Trash Into Treasure, at the Lincart Gallery in San Francisco. A project of David de Rothschild’s Adventure Ecology Sculpt the Future Foundation, the SMART Art competition invited artists to show the world how discarded objects could be reused and reimagined into works of art. Tim Dey’s “Ghost of Versailles” was one of those entries. Made from used plastic packing supplies, bubble wrap, drop cloths, aquarium tubing, and soda bottle bottoms, his costume put my Bay to Breakers Sea Monster to shame.
But personally, I was rooting for the work of plastics activist surfer and new friend Kathleen Egan’s “Plastic Wave.” Made from… Read the rest
Last Wednesday was my birthday. I took off from work and wandered around San Francisco, thinking, dreaming, planning…
Somehow I ended up in a gift shop on Union Street called The Enchanted Crystal. It’s my boss’s favorite place to hang out in the whole world… overflowing with shiny, sparkly, pretty stuff. Lots and lots and lots of stuff. And no dust in sight.
I wasn’t really shopping. There was nothing I needed to buy, although I did end up with a gift for my mom, whose birthday is this Thursday, and a tiny embroidered credit card wallet for myself… something my friends have been urging me to get since I usually just shove my ID and credit cards and money into my pockets loose and hope nothing gets lost.
The point is that I was attracted to the shop by the pretty colors and was just enjoying being there without the need to acquire, when the shopkeeper engaged me in conversation. We chatted about this and that, and I let … Read the rest
Continuing my visits to SF bay area waste facilities, I took a tour yesterday of the San Francisco MRF (material recovery facility, aka recycling center) and San Francisco “dump.” What I saw looked pretty much the same as at Davis Street and CWS, so I won’t bore you with more photos of sorting machines and baled materials. Instead, I’ll sum up the experience with this little video I put together showing both operations, the clean and the stinky. This video is more detailed than the one I made of the CWS operation:
What you don’t see in this video, what San Francisco has that other recycling and garbage facilities lack (besides being a whole lot bigger) is an artist in residence! Yep, you heard me. San Francisco Dump has an Artist in Residence program. Artists get space at the dump and access to whatever materials they want to use for three-month periods.
Friday night, Michael and I attended a presentation of the SF Dump … Read the rest
Last week, I went to bed and found this newspaper clipping on my pillow. Michael had left it there for me. Then, a few days later, my friend Sharon e-mailed me the same article. So I knew I had to make a visit to the new Panhandle Band Shell in San Francisco between Oak and Fell near Clayton and see for myself this creation made from plastic water bottles, old car hoods, and computer parts. Here are the photos I took today, as well as one taken of me by some nice guy. Click images to see larger.
I don’t know if the band shell will be there after September. I should have taken my ukulele and made music. Or sung. Well, I sang all the way home from BART today even without a band shell to amplify my sound. The cats in Rockridge are very forgiving.… Read the rest
Another sleepless night. Another wacky “art” project. Meet Tina. Tina’s tummy is full of plastic bags. And that’s okay, because she’s a fake plastic fish. In fact, her whole body is knitted from plastic bags… from the plastic bag “yarn” ball I made the other night. Click on images to see larger.
And remember, plastic bags are not evil. How can they be? They’re just plastic bags. It’s the overproduction of and disposal of them by humans that causes harm to other living things. So here are a few plastic bags that, for the time being, are just hanging out being a fish called Tina.… Read the rest