Will pay for your Junk

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    I’m an artist who makes small metal/glass items out of recycled items (aka trash art). Having been a tourist to Antarctica years back, I’d love to do some Antarctic themed pieces. So I’m hoping someone on this Board may know where I can get some good authentic Antarctic junk.

    Ideal items are those that would not have made it off the continent otherwise. If you can somehow prove that it came from an area that would not have otherwise been cleaned, then that’s best.

    I’m willing to pay a fair amount for the right items. I know this is a pretty vague request (sorry), but I’m hoping this might inspire some to see “art” in the common refuse around you. As someone who has waded through landfills, I know the best items are often the last things you would think of.

    At any rate, please reply to tags_j@yahoo.com if you have any ideas for me. I’d appreciate the help.



    Huh. I had to think about this one… And I have two solutions for you!

    First, the problem (as I see it)…

    If you were here you’d find infinite bits of junk to work with. It’s everywhere. Heck, we have whole buildings that are junk and I’m sure the NSF would absolutely love it if you’d pay to have them shipped to you, but somehow I don’t think you’re looking for broken door frames and 800-lb chunks of old metal roofs. 😉

    Anything unclaimed that is small, shippable, and distinctly Antarctic-ish is usually snatched up by the people who work here as a memento, and everything else is, well, the same kind of crap you’d find at your local landfill. Eventually it is all sent back to the states by cargo vessel, and 70% or so is recycled.

    Now the solutions!

    1) The Auction. Every year all the Antarctic crap, er, I mean potentially salvageable goods that get shipped back to the States is sold off at auction. This can be anything from computers, ovens, trucks, and other unidentifiable doodads. There’s no tellin’ what you’ll find. And here’s the deal — it’s guaranteed to be from the Antarctic program. Even better, it’s in your neck of the woods: Port Hueneme, California. Here’s the only link I know of, the rest is up to you:

    2) Are you good? Or perhaps the real question is, do you have good marketing for your art? You’ll love this… The NSF sponsors a variety of artists and writers to come down to the Ice every year and do their thing. No salary, but everything else is all-expenses-paid. You can apply online at the NSF website. This year, for instance, Palmer Station hosted an artist that makes latex casts of ice as molds for his glass art. That was cool. McMurdo hosted a loony artist who put big blue balls out on the sea ice in some sort of imitation of the celestial spheres, or something abstract like that. I guess there’s no accounting for taste; I’d like to be on the committee that decides which artists get the red carpet treatment… Anyway, I digressed. If you’re a serious artist, the NSF’s Artists and Writers Program is an option. Google for that and I’m sure you’ll get an eyeful.

    Good luck!



    Glenn — thanks so much for your helpful and thoughtful reply. You are indeed the King Penguin! Family needs will probably prevent me from spending a summer down there, but the auction is right up my alley. I’ll let you know if I find anything.

    Thanks again,

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