Barbara Mandrell would be proud to know her eyeball ended on the edge of a dragon collage. Jack Benny would be equally tickled to see his whole head made it onto the dragon’s face. And Harry Belafonte would probably belt out a calypso tune or two if he spotted his wide-open maw transformed into the mewling face of a scattered-looking cat.
Such notable musicians, authors, actors, game creators and the guy who put together the burlesque “Music to Strip By” album would surely be honored to know that their faces, works and hard-earned projects did not go the way of the Dumpster. They instead joined hundreds of other books, magazines, albums, CDs, DVDs and random recyclables that were transformed into glorious art projects for Bookmans GreenFest 2011.
The fruits of all this artistic labor goes on display from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 2 at the University of Arizona Co-op Extension, 4210 N. Campbell Ave. Stroll the outdoor gallery to witness what happens when dozens of local artists get their hands on a bunch of junk.
GreenFest rules dictate artists must create projects with approved recycled materials picked up from Bookmans, with a small percentage allowed for glue, paint and other construction materials.
Bookmans’ backroom recycling bins were full of delightful scads of surprises. We’re not sure how or why the bloody, decapitated figurine heads got in there, but they do make a great addition near the dragon’s pointy teeth. I was in heaven.
I’m a longtime fan of garbage picking and transforming recyclables into art, although I’m not sure when the practice became politically correct. It could have blossomed from the first tote bag made entirely of beer can tabs. Or the first table or desk constructed from an old door. Maybe the milk crates as dorm stools paved the entryway. Or perhaps the hippie neighbors in Michigan kicked it off with a flourish when hippie dad made his hippie kids’ sandals out of the used tires that fell off his car.
Because it’s now PC, please don’t call the garbage by its nasty former name. Instead kindly refer to it as “found items” or “slightly used treasures.” The term “recycling” has even become passé. The slightly used treasures feel much better if you refer to them as upcycled, renewed or revitalized.
Tucson garbage picking is a bit lacking as people here tend to throw out, well, trash. The yard sales are where you score mightily, especially when you wait until they are about to close down and the folks start giving away everything for free.
My greatest treasure of late was a used bathroom sink. The sink became a piece of swirly blue yard art with big metal peepers. His name is Stanley.
We need to draw the line somewhere, however. Steer clear of anything made from used toilet parts, nail clippings or other waste-type products. Although I did get a few fine pieces of hairball art off my shaggy, long-haired dog and a framed reproduction of my pet lizard using shards of his shredded skin. The Topeka Zoo’s gift shop is stocked with a line of art called My Pet Poo made entirely out of dried elephant dung.
Maybe there is no line – only limitless imagination. And Barbara Mandrell’s eyeball on a dragon collage.