Artist & Lead Landfill Worker, Burbank Landfill
1) Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I’ve been employed with the City of Burbank for the past 21 years. Currently, I’m the lead landfill worker, so I oversee operations at the Burbank landfill. While I don’t consider myself an artist I try my best to see the beauty in what people discard.
2) How did you first become interested in art?
When my kids were much younger, I’d often take them Venice Beach to hang out for the weekend. My kids were always amazed by the metal sculptures that the artists there had on display and on more than one occasion they’d ask me if I could buy them something to take home. At the time, that wasn’t a possibility but, instead of forgetting about it, I resolved to make them something myself. With the materials I found by rummaging around my home, and using the welding skills I learned over a lifetime, I started to create my own sculptures. As I refined my skills and my sculptures got more intricate, my family became increasingly supportive of my efforts. I started making metal sculptures as presents for my nieces and nephews, and soon it became a holiday tradition for me to gift new creations to the family.
3) How does art enrich a community, and what are some ways people can engage with art in Burbank?
When I became the lead landfill worker, I decided that I didn’t want the Burbank landfill to look like just any other landfill. By using materials found at the landfill, I began making sculptures using anything I could find – metal scraps, tires, plastic pieces. The drivers soon expressed their appreciation toward my work, commenting that it made the landfill a more inviting space. Some of the drivers even began bringing me items they thought I could use in my sculptures, and soon a whole small community developed around creating and appreciating art at the landfill.
4) If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
The art that I create is made to bring a smile to peoples’ faces.