Junk to Gems: Artist Erik Otto's Recycled Work

Junk to Gems: Artist Erik Otto's Recycled Work

Abby Stone
Jul 9, 2010

When we were a kid, spending summers in the country, we were mesmerized by the dump. This was the time in our life when cardboard boxes easily morphed into castles and a jar's metal lid was a golden plate. Erik Otto, whose work decorated the Modern Living Showcase by Ecofabulous at Dwell on Design, is one of those people who's retained that ability to see gems where other people see garbage.

For the past four months, he moved his studio to the San Francisco Dump and made a body of work entirely out of materials he could gather. It was all a part of Recology, San Francisco's Artist in Residence Program, a one-of-a-kind initiative that enables artists to work with materials, from paint to wood and beyond, taken directly from the city of San Francisco's waste stream and focused on teaching the public about recycling and resource conservation. A video, made by Otto and his friend Paul J Encinas, summarizes his experiences working at the dump:

Click here to see more of his work. And, if you're in San Francisco area between July 25 and September 21, check out the exhibit, Art at the Dump: Twenty Years of the Artist in Residence Program at Recology which will be at Intersection 5M. For more information about Recology, click here.

(Images: Erik Otto, video by Erik Otto and Paul J. Encinas)

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