Art at the Dump: Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence Program Announces 2013 Residency Recipients
Recology San Francisco is pleased to announce recipients of artist residencies for 2013. The six selected artists are Kristin Cammermeyer, Benjamin Cowden, Chad Hasegawa, Yulia Pinkusevich, Stephanie Syjuco, and Ian Treasure.
The Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco is a one-of-a-kind initiative started in 1990 to support Bay Area artists while teaching children and adults about recycling and resource conservation. Artists work for four months in a studio space on site and use materials recovered from the Public Disposal and Recycling Area. Over ninety-five professional Bay Area artists have completed residencies. Applications are accepted annually in August.
Guest blogger Carrie Gaydos is the Community Manager for VonChurch.com writes about an eye-opening trip to the San Francisco “dump.” VonChurch will be hosting Project Zero in Jan. 2013—a month-long commitment to create zero landfill-destined waste.
VonChurch, Inc., a San Francisco Green Business, is taking staff environmental education to heart. VonChurch is a recruiting firm working exclusively in the digital entertainment industry. Fueled by the passion to create and play, their culture is an elusive balance of focus and imagination. On August 17th, their “Work Hard | Play Harder” mindset and wild imagination lead them to a bizarre and unexpected place.
The Recology San Francisco transfer station is a piece of the on-going environmental initiatives in the city. A field trip there seemed to be in order. VonChurch staff wanted to look at the reality of San Francisco waste in the eye. The city of San Francisco has got a solid handle on resource recovery, wasting far less than the national average and creating nutrient-rich compost from food scraps and plant material for local farms and vineyards. VonChurch visited the facility to experience the truth behind what we toss out. A little dirt and grime-filled experiential learning experience, we hoped, would get staff to recycle, compost, waste less in the office, and to put a halt to bad habits and trashy behavior.
The two-hour tour consisted of a workshop on recycling and sustainability, a trip to the Art Studio to meet the current Artist in Residence at Recology San Francisco, a stop at the Household Hazard Waste facility, an unforgettable visit to the transfer station, a walk through the Sculpture Garden, and an enlightening video detailing the works of Recycle Central® at Pier 96.
It was an eye-opening experience. VonChurch employee, Nate Rhodes, described the tour as being “…really informative. I think it gave me a new perspective on how important it is to make an individual effort to compost, recycle, and to take the time to clean and deposit everything in its proper place. And the amount of effort it takes for Recology to operate for one day… fascinating stuff really.”
Another employee, Lisa Newton, went on to explain, “the SF Recology Center is a very interesting place. One-of-a-kind, to say the least! It’s home to one of the coolest art studios and gardens I have ever seen, while storing the smelliest and dirtiest trash I have ever been in contact with. Beyond the art exhibits, there are gorgeous falcons flying around, providing a humane form of seagull management. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would enjoy a dump as much as I enjoyed [Recology San Francisco’s transfer station].” We recommend the tour to any local business trying to educate and mobilize their staff to take action for the benefit of the environment.
VonChurch, Inc. is striving to work simpler and lighter on the planet; maintaining a compassionate, symbiotic relationship with the Earth is in their nature. After the tour, company CEO, Alex Churchill said, “I think this worked. I have noticed more people making the effort to compost and recycle.”
In January 2013, VonChurch will be undertaking an original program called, Project Zero, in which the collective staff will pledge to produce zero waste for the entire month.
It ain’t easy being green… but it is worth it.
VonChurch established and utilizes the VonEarth Committee to facilitate and organize mass, internal environmental initiatives and communication/environmental education. Their mission is:
To be mindful of the impact we have on the environment is a fundamental element of the VonChurch psyche. The VonEarth Committee was established to guide and unite VonChurch, to work simpler and lighter on the planet. Fueled by the passion to create and play, our culture is an elusive balance of focus and imagination. Maintaining a compassionate, symbiotic relationship with the Earth is in our nature.
The GLEAN Program is a private, public, nonprofit partnership between Recology, an employee-owned resource recovery company; Metro, the regional government for the Portland metropolitan area that oversees the garbage and recycling system; and Cracked Pots, an environmental arts group.
Now in its second year, GLEAN takes its inspiration from the Artist-in-Residence Program at Recology San Francisco. The goal of the GLEAN program is to inspire creative reuse and promote public conversation about how we can create more and waste less.
The artists, selected by a jury of arts and environmental professionals, include Andrew Auble, Chandra Glaeseman, Greg Hanson, Jennifer LaMastra and Sarah Wolf Newlands. For the past six months, artists have had access to the Metro Central Transfer Station to gather materials that they have used for their work which ranges from sculpture to mixed media assemblage to wearable art.
To learn more about the artists and their experience, check out this video: http://youtu.be/ibqwj7T7ll0
To learn more about the program and get details about the upcoming exhibition, go to
Recology is pleased to announce a two-day art exhibition and reception for local artists Christina Mazza and Erik Otto. The exhibition will feature two separate bodies of work including drawings, paintings, and installations inspired by and created out of salvaged materials found during each artists’ four-month residency at San Francisco’s city dump.
Redemption by Christina Mazza
The Last Shall Be First by Erik Otto
Friday, January 22, 2010, 5pm to 9pm
Saturday, January 23, 2010, 1pm to 5pm
Christina Mazza, Redemption
A focal point of Christina Mazza’s exhibition is a large mural in the center of the gallery depicting matted strips of white packing paper recovered from a collection of vintage Chinese lantern boxes. Mazza reproduced her findings as an abstracted pattern on the wall. Along with her mural, Mazza has focused on creating intricate drawings of ropes, cords, and twisted metal. Using found materials for her canvases, Mazza delighted over a graffiti-marred wooden tabletop, rusted metal cooking trays, and vintage book jackets as exciting surfaces to draw and paint on.
Although Mazza’s materials vary, everything she collected during her residency offered her a compelling opportunity to work with texture, form, and line. Themes of rejection as well as redemption appear throughout her work as she searched for beauty in discarded material. In regards to her selection process during the residency, Mazza remarked, “every rejected item I’ve drawn is meant to be closely examined. In doing so, the discarded object is acknowledged by the viewer and therefore redeemed.”
Her impeccable drawings are completed with ballpoint pen, pencil, or gouache, and present singular objects taken out of context from an often tangled conglomerate of disposed material. In regards to her technique, Mazza stated, “I work with the most humble and basic of implements. Using these common tools, I create sensitive, exquisitely-detailed and somewhat abstracted works that not only cause us to look at the environment around us differently, but also help us to closely examine ourselves and our own impact on that environment.” Her precision and realistic drawing style demands that we take a closer look at everyday objects. By highlighting a rope, or a pile of shredded paper, Mazza focuses on fragility and the individual beauty of objects that often go unnoticed. To accompany her drawings, she also produced an installation and a short collaborative video to document her memorable experience at the Dump.
Erik Otto, The Last Shall Be First
A Bay Area native, Erik Otto studied illustration and animation at San Jose State University. He is committed to drawing, painting, and constructing large installations using a variety of materials and surfaces. The amount of material available to Otto during his four-month residency at the Dump was both stimulating and inspiring.
In his exhibition, The Last Shall Be First, Otto calls attention to objects and materials that have been forgotten and disregarded. He incorporated house paint, spray paint, stenciling, collage and screen-printing in his artwork and through his creative process, regenerated these materials, turning waste into art. Through his homage to trash, Otto brings new spirit to old things and reminds us that thrown away and forgotten items can be salvaged and remembered.
Erik Otto considers himself a process artist and often, during the act of scavenging for materials, he develops his ideas. “I meditate and develop the concepts for the work I am about to create largely based on what I find. I often leave the initial stages of my work open and uncertain while intuitively working out a resolution that will decide its final outcome based on the suggestive qualities of the medium and materials at hand.”
His artwork and installations incorporate abstract and illustrative symbols and scenes with undercurrents of destruction. Themes of repetition, beauty, and devastation appeared in Otto’s work prior to his residency and continue to be central threads during his time at the Dump. Otto has only grown more compelled to find ways of visually depicting the never-ending cycle of waste.