See the Forest for the Trees was a collaborative project conceived during my tenure as Teen Program Coordinator at the Southwest School of Art. Mary Cantú of spare parts, a local education and creative reuse organization, partnered with us to explore environmental sustainability by reconsidering our notions of waste and what might constitute an art material. The end result was an award-winning tree installation that gave used cardboard a new life in honor of its forest origins.
Aside from nails, staples, and glue, every single material used to make the tree was used previously and then repurposed. Twelve high school students collected the trash they produced throughout one day and incorporated the material into the sculpture’s surface design, and over 400 square feet of cardboard was foraged either from the school’s recycling bin or student’s homes. I even designed and silk-screened an edition of exhibition posters printed over old botanical posters from the 1970’s.
Lead artists: Mary Elizabeth Cantú, Julia Barbosa Landois, Abraham Vasquez
Student artists: Paloma Brand, Katie Carrillo, Asha David, Mia Garcia, Alejandra Garrity, Kia Harris, Alexis Mireles, Zoe Ramirez, Jadan Rios, Elizabeth Sparkman, and Riley Williamson
See the Forest for the Trees was made possible by the Teen Studio Intensive (aka Bee Nation) at the Southwest School of Art, spare parts, and AP ArtLab. Photos by Joey Lopez, Anthony Francis, and Julia Barbosa Landois.