New Mexico pair turns trash into works of art

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – You’ve heard the saying, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Two New Mexico women take that saying literally– turning their trash into works of art. They don’t just use a couple of pieces of trash from their garbage to create their masterpieces, they’re zero-waste consumers. That means they don’t throw anything away.

“All the stuff that generally people would throw away or, hopefully, take to the recycle center, we are re-purposing into art and beautiful things,” said Tijeras artist Autumn Pearson.

For Pearson and Michelle Korte Leccia, re-purposing their trash is not only a way to create art, it’s a way of life. The pair don’t let anything go to waste, using everything from egg shells to onion peels to make a statement.

“Especially with the things that are decomposing I find that they’re very beautiful and grotesque at the same time and I think that is something we embrace as artists,” said artist Michelle Korte Leccia.

All of their materials are sorted, either by color or material– from cans and cardboard to eggshells. Pearson says they don’t just use recyclable materials, they also use organic ones.

Pearson says this all began when she saved her trash for 81 days. She says she liked it so much, she wanted to live that way.

“As an artist, you have to think about what’s going to set you aside from someone else or make you different and, thinking about sustainability and being a conscious consumer I was thinking, ‘well, we’re going to the recycle center all the time, what if we challenge ourselves to not throw anything away at all,” Pearson explained.

The artists are firm believers you can find art in just about anything– it’s subjective. Now, the two are passing along their mantra.

“This wall is a series of wishing wells made collaboratively with community members and, most recently, the local charter high school students,” explained Pearson as she pointed out decorated pieces of recycled tin. “It’s a great way to get community members and students involved in creating art.”

Teachers teamed up with the artists to help show the kids what the process is really like for artists, but the students took away more than a few tips about art– they also learned a thing or two about sustainability. Young people aren’t the only ones taking notice. Korte Leccia and Pearson are also gaining traction around town. The two sell their work at the Grower’s and Railyards Markets.

Pearson bought the 19th century church where they display their work 11 years ago. It’s now an art incubator, available to artists wanting to show their work.

For more information on the pairs art, click here.

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