Recycled redux

WNCC’s annual recycled art competition yields fun art made from environmentally friendly mediums

“Junk Drawer Dog” by Valorie Morgan.

“Junk Drawer Dog” by Valorie Morgan.

In a perfect world, Earth Day would be celebrated every day. We’d all carefully separate our glass, aluminum cans and paper products into their designated recycling bins, drive tiny little gas-electric hybrid cars and slap solar panels on every flat surface in the Truckee Meadows. And we’d never, ever flick a cigarette out of a car window.

But it’s not a perfect world, and Earth Day only comes once a year. And with Earth Day comes Western Nevada Community College’s annual Recycled Art(icles) judged exhibition, in which entrants use recycled materials to create both serious works of art and whimsical, often useful designs. This is the seventh year WNCC has held the contest, and this year’s theme is “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”

One piece that captures this theme perfectly is “Junk Drawer Dog” by Valorie Morgan. An odd-looking little ceramic mutt is literally covered from head to toe in items you probably meant to throw away years ago: beads, fishing tackle, spools of thread, buttons—even what appear to be lacquered bits of cat food.

Other pieces were less cluttered, but still kept a whimsical feel. Caroline Clotere created a marionette titled “Tubular” out of plastic syringe tubes, oxygen tubing and foam tape. To make “RE: NEW,” Tim Guthrie melted two records to create a large, black, vinyl oyster shell; inside, a red velvet pillow holds a CD “pearl.”

Jean Dimmick’s “Candy Girl” is a lot of fun to look at (unless you mentally count up how many calories must have been ingested in its creation). The artist covered a plastic dress form with dozens of brightly colored, strategically placed candy wrappers. A York Peppermint Patty replaces the bellybutton. Abba Zabba wrappers line the stomach (get it?). The breasts? Gotta be Mounds. And what wrapper would you choose for a lady’s nether regions? How about Oh Henry!?

Although all of these pieces are great, in every contest there must be a winner. This year’s winner for Best of Show goes to Anthony Arevalo for “Love Had Her,” a complex piece made of a wooden box divided into four compartments; in each compartment there is a different image, which I’ll leave to you to decipher. Linda Bottoms won Most Creative for “The Messengers,” and Ryan Simpson won Most Useful for “Clutch Table.”

The exhibit is only on display through April 26, so make sure you stop by WNCC before it’s too late. And when you leave, maybe you’ll be inspired to turn your own trash into treasure. As for me, I’ve got some serious plans for that crap in my top dresser drawer.