12.05.2011

GreenTech Geek: Trash Art


Lidia the Seal
Think about an unpleasant subject for a moment:  the tremendous amount of trash, pollution and toxins that human activity is responsible for pouring into the waterways, lakes, bays and oceans of our world. It's enough to ruin your day.

When I want to feel most awful about it, I find something to watch about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Estimated to be twice the size of Texas, it's a swirling mass of mostly plastic refuse that makes up the largest garbage dump in the world -- floating in the northern Pacific Ocean. Something like this:
Thanks to the inspirational work of Pacific Northwest artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi, San Diegans have a chance to learn about the crucial issue of ocean pollution in a somewhat less disgusting way. Well, let's say the end results of her work are less disgusting. Pozzi collects plastic ocean waste -- lots of it -- and fashions it into larger-than-life sea creatures representing species threatened by the very thing they are made of: the  garbage we put into the oceans. That would be things like plastic water bottles, syringes, tampons, plastic bags, valve stem caps, condoms, expired credit cards, dental floss cases, pill bottles, and so much more.   

I came across Pozzi's work at the San Diego Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier a couple of weeks ago after a scooter ride there with my friend Perv (known to some long-time Tea with Lemon readers) to catch some of the America's Cup action on San Diego Bay.

See the first work of Pozzi's that caught my attention after the jump. 


Tula the Sea Turtle
Yours truly under the Giant Jellyfish
It was Tula the Sea Turtle. All green and lumpy and huge and ... made of trash. Captivated by Tula, I at first didn't notice what was hovering above me: a giant jellyfish made of plastic water bottles, plastic bags and rope discarded in the ocean.

Impressive works, even without considering the profound environmental messages ingrained in their very DNA. As I got to know these odd creatures, an energetic, curly-haired woman approached me. I know women like this, I thought. Strong, resilient, creative, changing the world for the better. The Pacific Northwest molds such women. I know, because my wonder-sister Krista lives in Eugene, Oregon as a triumphant single mother, among all the other amazing women up there.

This woman, it turned out, was the artist herself. Pozzi delighted in observing my reactions to her creatures, and she delighted equally in sharing the meaning behind her works with me. I didn't have a notepad to jot everything down, but luckily I found a statement on her web site very similar to what she told me:
"I came to the ocean to heal, but like many people I walked with blinders on, bypassing the garbage, wanting only to see the ocean's beauty. When I finally stopped and really saw the debris on the beach, my heart and mind opened to the problem. I researched the effects of plastic in the ocean and the tragedy of animals suffering. I decided to take action ... artistic action. The problem of plastic pollution in the ocean is massive, so the artwork had to be massive in order to get the message across. This was the birth of 'Washed Ashore: plastics, sea life and art.'"
Just before we parted, Pozzi said "You gotta see Henry the Giant Fish!" He was a short walk away, over by the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier. Perv and I had to get on our way, so we didn't get a chance to see Henry. But here he is at the artist's web site: Henry the Giant Fish. Pozzi had other gawkers to tend to, but not before I was able to snap a picture of her in front of her beloved Tula. 
Artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi with Tula the Sea Turtle
Recognize him?
Peruse the artist's web site and you'll see great photos of all her works and the techniques used to create them. You'll also get to know this enigmatic artist better. One of my favorite works by Pozzi is Lidia the Seal, who leads this week's GreenTech Geek column.

Until next Monday ...

Washed Ashore ended its run on San Diego's Embarcadero in November, but you can still catch it down at the Chula Vista Nature Center, starting December 8, 2011 through July, 2012. To view and learn more about the exhibit from the comfort of your armchair, visit the artist's web site at www.washedashore.org.

3 comments:

As comforting as it was to hear her voice, that Oprah clip is DEPRESSING! People are rude.

I love how this blog has a PERV Easter Egg in it!!!

Good subject matter too, whenever I grab anything plastic I hear T's voice in my head saying "No I don't want a plastic cup that's going to end up in the ocean one day

People behind these arts really did well in recycling and reusing these non biodegradable materials like plastics. It's good to know that there are still people who are concerned of our nature. By the way, I support the advocate of the government to ban plastics. It is safer and cheaper to use, paper bags and biodegradable plastic bags
.

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