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Artist Ian Trask transforms waste into sculptures to remind us of the lifespan of our products
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Artist Ian Trask transforms waste into sculptures to remind us of the lifespan of our products

Local gallery hosted exhibit full of trash to make a statement

We live in a material world. More often than not, these materials become trash.

His exhibit, Many Worlds was featured at the James Oliver Gallery in October – November 6th. It was his first time exhibiting in Philadelphia.

For Maine-based artist Ian Trask, using our waste as a medium also doubles as a social message.

Trask was frustrated at people’s disconnection to their consumption to the greater ecosystem. “It’s like always placing humans kind of within that grander bigger picture, not as these isolated beings focused on their own lives, but part of the larger whole or planet or ecosystem,” shared Trask.

Ian Trask Many worlds
Photo: Jason Chen

Why choose garbage as a medium?

Instead of simply growing frustrated by humankind’s disregard for items needed at one point, he was also inspired by it. As Trask explained, “Thinking about how easy it is to just sort of cast-off things that otherwise seem so important to us at one moment in our life.”

Trask has noticed that people connect with his medium of choice, too. He found volunteers for people giving him their ‘waste” for his artwork. “In many ways, for me working with waste, working with trash just felt like there was a little bit of like spiritual redemption that I really connected with. Gradually, the more I showed my work to people in my community and they understood what I was doing,” shared Trask.

ian trask
Photo: Jason Chen

Despite the heavy topic of our piling waste problem, Trask finds joy in working with trash. “It’s a grim issue, but the way I present it, it’s kind of playful and fun engaging in it. It still makes you think about the issue, but think about it in a more optimistic way.”

Cover photo: Jason Chen


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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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