Cashing in on Trash

Just an hour’s drive from San Francisco, the little town of Sebastopol, California is well known for its spicy Gravenstein apples and plethora of antiques stores.  Its proximity to Sonoma County wine country and the rugged California coast makes it a regular destination for city dwellers needing a break.  But hidden just a block away from Sebastopol’s Main Street is a lesser-known treasure: the sculptures of artist Patrick Amiot.

Florence Avenue boasts the charming turn-of-the-century homes typical to the original neighborhoods of downtown Sebastopol, with front porches slightly askew from age and gardens gone just a bit wild.  But the first thing visitors will notice is the giant caveman.

Cooperative neighbors allow Amiot to display what he calls his Urban Folk Art collection on their front lawns, creating an unofficial walking tour that attracts locals and out of town visitors alike.

Using materials that would normally be relegated to the trash pile, the artist uses a fresh eye to see the possibilities in items such as an old teakettle, broken bike chains and discarded golf clubs.  Finished with a bright coat of paint, these pieces depict a slice of American life – a fireman, Dalmatian in tow; a hula girl; a baseball player complete with catcher’s mitt and glove; and (since this is farming country) a replica of an old Oliver tractor.

To see these oversized pieces of art, from downtown Sebastopol head north on Highway 116, then take a left on Florence Avenue. Park where you can on the narrow street and start walking. The displays begin about a block away from Highway 116, with the artwork flanking both sides of Florence Avenue.

13 thoughts on “Cashing in on Trash

  1. Love it! Now that’s recycling at its most brilliant.

  2. Hi Kris, I’m not sure why my blog won’t let you just give your name and url…I looked at the comments settings and there’s no way I can see that I can change that. Maybe it’s Blogger’s doing? I wish I were more web-savvy and knew what to do. :}
    TeresaR recently posted..Vancouver – a photo-heavy post

  3. I love the idea of an unofficial neighborhood walking tour with groovy large scale pieces. What fun!
    Frugal Kiwi recently posted..Birthday Beehive

  4. Sheryl on said:

    This is absolutely fabulous and fun. Love this kind of art – AND it’s so good to use recycled materials. Wish I could see it for myself!

  5. I feel like I’m being haunted by junk art. First I read about a guy in Detroit who started by painting crack houses with polka dots and moved on to various art objects. Then I visited a house right here in Tucson with very creative (although not as colorful) metal findings sculptures in his yard. Good grief, am I going to run into them in Paris, next?
    Vera Marie Badertscher recently posted..Baghdad in War Time

  6. I love this! It makes me wish I had the ability to design something similar out of castoffs, but I don’t. Oh, well, I’ll just enjoy it.
    Ruth Pennebaker recently posted..Shut Up- She Explained

  7. So cool. On a much, much smaller scale my kids create all these intricate houses out of kleenex boxes, paper towel rings and such for these popsicle people that they’ve glued together.
    MyKidsEatSquid recently posted..Jolly Pumpkin’s Edamame Spread

  8. How cool. Reminds me of the painted mules and cows and such that we sometimes (for a while) had in small towns and cities. But this is much cooler because it’s really are and it’s recycled.
    Alisa Bowman recently posted..What’s Your Marriage Secret

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