‘Everything Old Is New Again.” The words to this song by Peter Allen, and from the movie, “All That Jazz,” might come to mind when you consider the artists selected for this year’s Coastal Oregon Artist Residency program will create works of art from discarded objects gleaned from the Recology Astoria Recycling Depot and Transfer Station.
The annual Recology Western Oregon and Astoria Visual Arts residency program, now in its fourth year, supports repurposing discarded material into works of art.
Artists Drea Rose Frost of Cannon Beach and Jeremy Furnish of Clatskanie were selected for the four-month residency out of 11 applicants, the highest number ever of people who applied.
The program brings a whole new meaning to dumpster diving.
“I’ve been dumpster diving for 20 years,” Furnish said.
When Furnish and Frost start work on June 3, they will share a workspace at the Recology facility in Warrenton. While they are responsible for gathering their own materials, they may end up using materials the other artist scavenged.
“It’s a trash exchange,” Furnish said.
New life for old objects
The program aims to help people look at discarded materials in a different way and imagine a life for it beyond what it was used for.
“It highlights our addiction to consumerism,” Furnish said.
Furnish’s enthusiasm for the residency was readily apparent.
“I’m really counting on what I do for a living, so I’m kind of doing one commission after another, so this is kind of like a break or a dream,” he said.
Furnish works in oil and watercolor painting, but prefers to work bigger and in 3D.
“I like new opportunities,” Furnish said, “so I’m always looking for something new. It keeps opening doors. Every time you have a new experience your work changes.”
While the artists might have an idea in mind for his or her scavenged materials, the finished product may be completely different from the initial vision.
“I put myself in a position to be able to accept or create any type of creative project across the board,” Furnish said.
“The material speaks to you,” she said. “You can kind of have a plan but the material you find will sort of dictate what it becomes.”
Frost draws from the ocean and natural world in her art.
“It’s very freeing to have an opportunity to push the material and push yourself into whatever direction you feel like,” she said.
Materials gathered by Furnish and Frost will be weighed so viewers can know how many pounds of trash each piece of art is made from.
Rhonda Green, who is the director of the program, told the artists much of what they find at the Transfer Station will be objects that look perfectly fine or could have been donated to Goodwill.
“We ask that 85 percent of the material the artists use comes out of the transfer station,” Green said.
Both Furnish and Frost will also receive a $1,000 monthly stipend during the residency.
Green said viewers are welcome to watch the artists work, if they give her notice they will be there.
Furnish and Frost’s work will be exhibited on Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Anita Building, 1312 Commercial St., in Astoria.
For more information on the program and to watch Frost and Furnish work, contact Green at 503-861-0578, Ext. 3512, or firstname.lastname@example.org