Insects and the City

Eco-sculpting
by Amanda Giddon -- March 3rd, 2014

Upon hearing the word twiggy, I first think of the wide-eyed, 1960’s model, and then dwell upon nicknames from my lanky phase in middle school, from which I am still recovering. However, North Carolina’s own Patrick Dougherty brings new, green meaning to the word. When Dougherty spies saplings along the periphery of the Highway 147, he envisions massive works of environmental art. One tree-inspired project can require truckloads of saplings, and up to a 3-week construction period.

Photograph from stickwork.net

Photograph from stickwork.net

The architecturally striking constructions are mysterious, whimsical, and dynamic. They are a dream tree house for a child, and a visually stimulating sanctuary for adults. Dougherty’s biological beauties are often integrated into existing environments, and become entangled with surrounding flora.

Photograph from stickwork.net

Photograph from stickwork.net

The photographs alone are experiential. The trees come alive, and awaken my inner naturalist. Whether it is the willowy wigwams, or what resembles tree-formed teapots, I implore you get twiggy with it,and keep an eye out for Dougherty’s “Stickwork” in North Carolina, and around the globe.

If you prefer surf to turf, you may be partial to the artistic efforts lead by Angela Pozzi. Angela’s project, called “Washed Ashore” creates large-scale sculptures that range from jellyfish to coral reefs. From a distance, the sculptures are colorful, charming and beachy, but as you approach, the figures get trashy – literally. Washed Ashore collects plastic that washes up on the shore in Bandon, Oregon, and community members all pitch in to sort, clean, and build with the debris. Angela says, “I aim to grab people with the power of the sculptures, which are beautiful and then become horrifying.”

Photograph from http://ocean.si.edu

Photograph from http://ocean.si.edu

 These two artists, diverse in their materials and in their practice, inspire me to create. Specifically – create change. No matter the medium, bent sticks or bleach containers, within each lies a dormant environmental message, waiting to surface. Itching for more? Check out some more environmental artists here.

henry-the-fish

Photograph from http://ocean.si.edu

1 Comment

  1. Jade Pennington
    Mar 6, 2014

    I love this! I’ve followed Patrick Dougherty’s work for some time, and I’m so glad you profiled him. I have not heard of Angela, but I appreciate her idea to engage the whole community in trash collection for art. Brilliant. Great entry, thanks.

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