Junk to Gems: Artist Erik Otto’s Recycled Work
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: