Five local artists have been selected to make art out of the Portland area’s trash.
GLEAN is an annual program that offers a stipend to selected artists to make at least 10 pieces of art with the materials they find digging around at the Metro Central Transfer Station in Northwest Portland. Artists are selected by a jury of arts and environmental professionals. Over the course of about five months, the artists blog about their experiences and offer a behind-the-scenes look at their processes.
Final works will be on display in August.
About the artists
This year’s selected artists are Eduardo Cruz Torres, Carolyn Hazel Drake, Liz Grotyohann, Benjamin Mefford and Brittany Rudolf. Collectively, their media and methods include metal etching, textiles and boat building.
Eduardo Cruz Torres was born in Mexico and describes himself as a self-taught artist who started drawing as soon as he was able to hold a pencil. His early work used black ink, which remained his preferred medium for several years. In 2014 he began experimenting with etching metal using a scribe tool free-hand to create intricate patterns. He also etches glass and stone, and uses a burning technique to decorate wood surfaces. Cruz Torres is an active member of the Latino Artist Exchange.
Carolyn Hazel Drake is a sculptor who works with a mix of porcelain and natural textiles and describes herself as “mostly self-taught.” A third generation Oregonian, she says she developed an eye for color, pattern and detail while spending time as a child in her mother’s quilt store. Drake teaches workshops on sculpture, ceramics and textiles and teaches art classes. She studied literature and architecture in Portland State University’s Honors College and completed a curatorial research internship for the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Liz Grotyohann is a graphic designer. She works in print, web and spacial design and launched a website to showcase the work of environmentally-friendly products created by artists and craftspeople. Born in New Jersey, Grotyohann received her Bachelor in Fine Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art. Her work has been published in various media outlets, including Design*Sponge, Craft, Sunset and Readymade magazines.
Benjamin Mefford is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus on sculpture. He has worked on video, hard stone, mixed media installations and public art projects. He studied jade carving with master sculptor Kazutaka Uchida in Japan and explored sculptural paper-making techniques through a residency with Pulp & Deckle Studio in Portland. Mefford's formal education is in studio art. He recently completed his first public art commission for the city of Lake Oswego.
Brittany Rudolf's work takes varied forms, from sculptural furniture to performance art. She holds the GLEAN residency for a student and is currently enrolled in a Master of Fine Arts program from a local applied craft and design school. Rudolph is originally from Indiana.
Follow the journey, see the art
Now in its eighth year, GLEAN is a partnership between Metro, the government that manages the Portland area's garbage and recycling system; Recology, an employee-owned company that manages resource recovery facilities; and crackedpots, a local environmental arts nonprofit organization. Inspiration for the program comes from the renowned Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence Program.
Follow the artists' journeys at the GLEAN blog and see updates on Metro’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter streams.
The GLEAN art exhibit opens with a reception on Friday, Aug. 3 at the Furthermore Gallery in Southeast Portland. The exhibition will run through Aug. 25.