In the Studio Today... The Art of Beach Plastic

Sunday, Feb 6, 2011

Today was a gorgeous, 73 degree day in February in Northern California. My family and I headed out to Kehoe Beach in Pt. Reyes National Seashore to take a nice hike, bring the dog, and enjoy the sand dunes. We had a plan to collect beach plastic, inspired by the work of friends from Woodacre, Judith Selby Lang and Richard Lang. This couple is well-known in Marin and the Bay Area for collecting plastic washed up on Kehoe beach for 12 years now, and creating art from their collections. We set out to see what we could find today, and to our surprise... we found a rainbow of plastic in a very small area of the beach.  Here are two photographs of what we collected on the beach today....
Notice the American Airlines tag, a blue plastic flower, and some really unique shapes.  My sons were really excited to find the green, agricultural bands(lower left) that Judith and Richard talk about in their video, and I was amazed to find a toothbrush and toothpaste cap(upper right).
Here I am amazed at the full spectrum of color that is to be found in just a few hours on the beach:  We found 4 disposable lighters, and probably 30 or more bottle caps, a yellow "ant" from the game "Ants in the Pants"(we think) a comb, and a plastic "Army Man".  The army man became symbolic of one man's battle against this huge, alarming environmental issue we face, so I made a little poster that you will find below.  First, take a look at Judith Selby Lang and Richard Lang's video on this art they have been creating from this beach for over a decade.

Judith and Richard have been creating art from their finds, and educating the public with their work for many years.  Most recently, they have a display at SFMOMA in San Francisco.  This April, they will have work in the Marin Arts Council Gallery show, "Nature's Palette", where we hope to play a video you can watch online now.  Please take a moment to watch their "film" on their work and their love story, here:

Each piece of plastic Richard and Judith pick up comes back to their house, where it gets cleaned, categorized and stored before being used for their art. The couple make sculptures, prints, jewelry and installations with the plastic they find washed up, raising a deeper concern with the problem of plastic pollution in our seas. To learn more about their work, visit: and
and to learn more about the Gyre:​wiki/​Great_Pacific_Garbage_Patch

The below image is a quick poster design I did, using the plastic "Army Man" we found today, looking as if he is fighting in the sea of plastic.  Do you think we can win this war on disposable plastic?

Beachplastic_poster_2011_25, originally uploaded by cproppe.

Blake made a list that he is holding, that itemizes the caps, toys, colors... of each piece collected today.