Erik Otto used to have a studio next door to me in the Mission. I own one piece of his work and now dream of the day when I can afford to own more. Not long after he moved in, he moved out and he moved on and he's done nothing but rise in his success since then. It's been beautiful to watch from afar. Those of us at the old studio who knew him for one hot minute get a bit giddy around him. His always super nice, super down-to-earth attitude and his ability to articulate where his head is at regarding, not only his art, but the Artist-in-Residency program as a whole is such a pleasure in the art world.
He's just finished, what many of us consider a real 'get' of a gig, working from the dump. It's a coveted, application-only spot for a very short amount of time. It's 24-7 access to the immense amount of stuff that people throw away on a daily basis.
It was a 'challenge' he said, in a lot of ways-- one of the main ones was realizing just what that amount is that we're all throwing away. Once you come to grips with that, then realizing what you can use, what you have to let go.... if you're a hoarder, or a junkie for junk, a flea market lover, a garage sale haunter, a dumpster diver, a collector of any sort, you'll relate to this feeling. Sure, it would be hard for me, but I'm always up for a challenge. It would be a challenge you'd learn to love because you'd discover a lot of other things. A garage sale is usually one family's miscellany. The dump is the city's repository of thousands of people's stuff: good, bad, unused, unopened, crushed, wet, beautiful stuff.
a guy named Michael walked into my little studio and said, you should think about the dump.
I've been thinking about it non-stop since then.
The goal of the Artist In Residence Program at Recology San Francisco is to use art to inspire people to recycle more and conserve natural resources. The company provides selected local artists with the opportunity to create art using materials they gather from San Francisco's refuse. This includes 24-hour access to a well-equipped studio, a monthly stipend, and an exhibit at the end of their residency, but artists seem most excited about having 24-hour access to the materials.
Now, that's a dream come true.
Talking to Erik today and hearing about the depth of the program & the depths that it took him to, I was so inspired! I walked away wanting it even more than before.