My friend Lydia recently tipped me off to the work of artist Bryant Holsenbeck and was kind enough to put me in touch with the creative environmentalist for a little Q and A on the motivations behind her whimsical works creating bright and lively installations out of trash.
everydaytrash: Do you see your work as political?
Holsenbeck: Yes–I see my work as from the gut, personal, political. People do not want to see their trash. The quantity component of my work is very important. We just have so much (use it once or 20 times for that matter) stuff. Use it and then trow it “Away” Where is Away? In the US, most people are not concerned with this.
everydaytrash: I love the idea of wildlife made from trash, what brought about your Wildlife installation and what other birds and beasts have you created from discarded materials since?
Holsenbeck: Wild life–because we are taking up the space for wild animals. We like to see deer, but not in our gardens. What animals will be able to survive as we take over all of the wild and natural habitats. I feel very fortunate when I see birds soaring in the sky. Wild. Where do they live? As developers bulldoze and we stamp on all insects because they are “in our way” We are ruining our habitat as well. I am lucky to live in a neighbor hood where I see rabbits and chipmunks–and yesterday close to town–I saw a fawn running for the woods–white tail up. Our worlds are getting closer and closer–I hope we can live with wild animals–They do not have a voice. “WILD” is about watching for wild animals–being glad when I see them. Keeping my eyes open for what is there.
everydaytrash: Your bottlecap pieces are so intricate: how long do they take to create and what’s your process for collecting materials?
Holsenbeck: I have collected bottle caps for about 10 years. I have reached current maximum storage capacity of about 100,000 caps. The collection was mostly easy–It was continual. Certain friends family and neighbors designated themselves as collectors. For some people, it just became part of their recycling process. I am used to arriving home to a bag of “stuff” on my front porch. I am grateful to all of these people for collecting. Each cap is a record of something consumed–and we are doing this all of the time. The hard part for me has been keeping the caps sorted by color and making sure they are clean.
Here is what is important–not that many families collected for me–but over time, it mounts up. How many jars of apple sauce did you and your family eat last year–then multiply times 10–any product over time–we eat to survive and the caps are the non-biodegradable record