|One personís garbage can be anotherís form of art
Junk art contest still popular after 25 years
It is no accident Sonoma County has seen an upsurge in community events with environmental themes. Concerns for both the state of the earth and Sonoma County’s social scene have given rise to events ranging from last year’s Share Fair in downtown Santa Rosa to the Handcar Regatta in Railroad Square. And now Scrapture, Garbage Reincarnation Inc.’s junk art sculpture contest, seems as contemporary as ever, even in its 25th year.
This year’s festival at Cotati’s La Plaza Park had no specific theme, but those in attendance could see the signs of an environmentally friendly mindset everywhere. Flowers, trees, birds, and plant holders made from repurposed materials were all on display. One piece included a sign that read, “Plastic kills, please recycle.” At the music stage, hay bales, not plastic folding chairs, comprised the audience seating.
At the same time, the artwork rose above pure environmentalism. Pieces took many creative forms, from sunglasses to reimagined motorcycles to boom boxes and musical instruments painted in 80s styles.
Mike Watt, a schoolteacher and one of the day’s artists, pointed out the presence of both environmentalism and whimsy at the festival. His work included an “uneasy chair” made from barbed wire and a small wall with moveable wooden pieces. To the delight of children in attendance, he demonstrated a spinning marker holder created with the help of his daughter.
This playfulness extended to Russ Scarola’s massive marble maze. Created with several local students, the maze required the cooperation of multiple players to direct various marbles around walls of rubber bands and through revolving doors. After a demonstration of the intricate game, Scarola expressed his hope more festivalgoers would drop their social restraints and play with the maze’s possibilities. But, he said, sometimes he finds an excited audience in a passing group of 20-year-olds.
Nearby sat a contraption that was half walker, half Harley Davidson motorcycle. As a present for a friend turning 60, Clyde J. Galantine fashioned the piece out of a motorcycle found in a river, an aircraft engine cylinder and half of a wine cask. Having spent 80 hours on the contraption, Galantine hopes his friend’s wife will refrain from taking it out of the house and placing it in the backyard.
Local band Solid Air provided the festival’s music, offering a mellow and pleasing mixture of folk, rock, and country tunes. During their set, they covered songs such as Van Morrison’s “Moondance” and Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now,” often adding harmonies and steel guitar to their sound. When they were not playing, their singer promoted the festival’s raffle, at one point saying, “You’ll probably win something you never knew even existed before you came here today.”
The raffle, like the festival, was a treasure trove. Among other objects, the festival’s staffers gave away a goldfish sculpture, a purple bicycle, handmade potholders, a quilt, and a lawnmower. During one of the raffles, a ten-year-old boy won a free oil change, about which he was very excited.
In its freewheeling fun and its display of local artistic beauty, Scrapture has guaranteed itself several more years as one of Cotati’s gems.
Below are the names of the contest winners:
Children: Ava Born (1st place), Xenia McLean (2nd place), Lilian Black (3rd place).
Amateurs: Ron Petty (1st place), William Bacon (2nd place), Russ Scarola (3rd place).
Professionals: Matthew Rapalyea (1st place), 3D Edddy (2nd place), Tyson Barbera (3rd place).
Scrap Craft: Lynne Todaro (1st place), Karen Hungerford (2nd place), Joshua Rock (3rd place).
Jason McLean received the Pavitra Crimmel Memorial Excellence in Re-Use Award.