What do skateboards, newspaper clippings, beeswax and metal trash cans have in common?

At first glance, nothing ties these items

together. Yet all of these objects and more are currently on display at the San Luis Obispo Art Center, located at 1010 Broad St., in “Funky Junk: The Art of Recycling.” The exhibit, which will be on display through Sept. 24, includes

everything from simple pieces that add interest with textures, to abstract and thought-provoking commentaries on religion and war.

Karen Kile, executive director at the art center, said the exhibit is important for art because it reveals the awareness the artists have of their environment and surroundings while making statements about society.

“It’s been a trend for artists to reuse recycled materials for a number of years,” Kile said. “Exhibits like this attract people nationwide with the passion to use castoff materials in their creations.”

Sixty-two participating artists, hailing from San Luis Obispo to New York, contributed unique and unusual pieces created from recyclable materials. Though some of the artwork does make use of beer cans and plastic bottles, overall the exhibit does not scream “recycling!”

In her creation “Spoonerism 2008,” Robin Bell used 2,008 plastic spoons produced by Solo. She cut each spoon, separating the bowls used in her sculpture from the handles. A sole black spoon at the end of a curving spiral stands against the otherwise striking white plastic.

The structure of Bell’s piece is reminiscent of a hunk of white coral mounted on a wooden pedestal for display.

Artist David Edgar designed the “Bluetail Reef Cruiser.” The fun and funky fish was constructed out of brightly colored plastic materials that included Snuggle and Purex laundry detergent bottles.

Howard Kline used 73 pairs of designer sunglasses in his vivid piece “Looking for Adventure.” He mounted the sunglasses on canvas and then painted over them with bright acrylics for a modern effect on the dimensional piece.

Another artist created his piece out of glass from a broken bottle. Christopher Watts found the bottle in the street near a statue of Jesus and was inspired to create “The Green Jesus,” a sculpture whose face and hands appear to be coming through the wall.

“The Art of Recycling” is worth checking out, especially if you have ever wondered how to create something intriguing out of seemingly useless items.

Kile said that recycling has a long history of being well respected in the art field, and that the exhibit has drawn many people in from off the streets.

“The exhibit has been both entertaining and educational for people,” Kile said. “People are walking away with, ‘Gee, why didn’t I think of that?’ or with ‘How smart, how witty. What a statement that person was making.’”

For more information, go to www.sloartcenter. org.

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