Detritus Artists: Sustainable Art
Detritus artists are the creative, imaginative, and innovative individuals who use "trash" to create visually stunning and thought-provoking pieces.
Val Britton creates layered, intricate collages that explore the concept of maps and journeys. All the materials she uses come from the San Francisco dump; it's "trash to treasure" at its best.
Britton's work was created as part of Recology San Francisco's artist-in-residence program. It's a 20-year-old artist program aimed at inspiring people to conserve natural resources and to recycle more. Wouldn't it be great if every city had a program that allowed eco-conscious artists to pillage and plunder as they please in search of materials they need to create art? The materials would be free of charge and the contents of the landfill will be slightly reduced. And when it comes to protecting the environment, every little bit adds up quickly.
Making art out of used objects isn't new. What's significant in Britton's work is that it encourages viewers to look at refuse differently and, most importantly, she draws attention to the fact that the dump has all kinds of reusable stuff, that it provides for her every need, and she's able to repeatedly find new, unused items, still in their sealed and original packages.
With the green emphasis on diverting as much "trash" as possible from landfills, Britton's work marks a emerging trend in the art world that allows artists to make their work as sustainable as possible. After all, when will we ever run out of trash?
Britton and fellow artist Zachary Royer Scholz worked at Cast-off Central — the San Francisco dump. They didn't work with household trash but with relatively clean items brought down to the dump, such as loads of wood from remodeling jobs or discarded fixtures from closed businesses.
Scholz was struck by the amount of wood coming in, and used some of it for a structure of L-shaped blocks cut from discarded timber.Continued on the next page