Meet Anders! Anders is a wonderfully clever 4th grader at Crestview Elementary. Besides dressing up like a rockin' cowboy, Anders also likes to plant trees, weed and tend obscure places to make them beautiful. He is involved in all sorts of activities with the Boy Scouts and participates in various Utah State Fair contests and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts Artful Afternoons. The reason we had our interest piqued however, was because of his new-found hobby - creating sculptures from scrap metal pieces. We got to meet Anders at his family's house nestled in the foothills of Salt Lake County and have him tell us more about his art, the metal pieces he uses and what his hopes are for the future.
A few years ago, Anders was at Utah’s Red Butte Garden, a favorite place to visit with his family. As they were leaving, they stopped by the gift shop and saw some creative sculptures – frogs, bats, etc. - made out of little pieces of scrap metal. Anders' creative juices started pumping and he thought maybe someday he would create a sculpture of his own.
Last October, Anders participated in the National PTA Reflections contest through his school. The theme of the contest was "The world would be a better place if...." Many of the kids made posters for the contest, but Anders pulled out the scrap-metal sculpture idea and finished the theme sentence with "The world would be a better place if people recycled more." He got to work building his first sculpture made from scrap metal which he called "It Was Junk." His work was recognized with an Award of Excellence and a medal at the school! Later in the year, he entered another junk sculpture in The National Garden Clubs sculpture contest and made several smaller sculptures for the local club’s lunch meeting. He also entered the National Forest Service's art contest, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." Of course, his sculpture won the State contest for his grade level there as well.
The sculptures Anders creates all come from scrap metal - he didn't describe one piece to me that was new or purchased. He did reveal his resources, however; "Most of it comes from leftover projects that my grandpa and uncle do." Some of the most interesting parts include spark plugs, an old sprinkler head, the spine of a spiral notebook, and a trailer hitch. We were very impressed with his resourcefulness.
Anders has quickly learned that people love his art. And of course they do! We couldn't resist it when we first came across it either. When we asked him if he planned to continue making art projects and what his hopes for the future of his art will be, he began by saying, "Well, I'm kind of running out of materials, so I don't know how much longer I'll be able to continue." But then he launched into telling us his plans for making a full-size dune buggy for the State Fair this year using barbed wire and scrap metal sheets leftover from a project his dad was working on. We also learned he often comes home from school or activities with his pockets full of small pieces of metal, rocks, or other interesting pieces he finds on the playground or sidewalk. We don't think it sounds like he'll be done creating any time soon. We very much look forward to what he creates in the future.
Before we left, we asked Anders if he thought recycling was important and he said, "Yes, of course. People litter and if they keep doing that, it's going to be a problem. It's important to keep our world green." We couldn't agree more!
Thanks for recycling in such a beautiful and inspiring way, Anders!
Do you know a stellar recycler we should feature as our next Recycling Spotlight? Tell us about them! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org