Columbia, SC (WLTX) The animals are about to take over one Columiba man's back yard as his collection grows.
Its because USC professor of archaeology turned artist, Andy White is working to give scrap metal a new life in new forms as he takes Columbia's trash and turns it into art. He says, "So as I am making something there are things that I have that I am trying to incorporate somehow or another, and then there are things that I kind of find along the way that I figure out how to fit in. I can't remember a time when I didn't want to draw things or make things, or create things somehow. And this is just kind of of tools or one way to do that."
White tells News 19, "Friday is big trash item day here so these big curb piles start. So there are peices of somebody's plant stand in there. There are pieces of somebody's lawn furniture in there. I made that cross brace out of bedframes that I found out on the curb here."
His latest piece is a Tyrannosaurus Rex that stands 4 feet tall at its hip and is 9 feet long. White says,"As an Archaeologist our main source of information is the things that people leave behind intentionally or unintentionally. Some have meaning and some is just garbage."
In this case its garbage that as an Archaeologist, White uses to try to get the anatomy of his T-Rex just right. White says, "That's kind of the fun part and the challenging part is that as a scientist I think to get something that represents multiple things; have have reality and not reality in them, at the same time."
But As an Artist, white is preserving his own past. He says, "They are kind of memory machines for me in a way, because they take all these bits and pieces of things that you know remind me where I was when I got this, or when I did that and you stick them all together and create some thing new."
Those memories he says are preserved simply by re-using what's around him. Part of The triceratops' legs are made from his daughter's first bicycle. He explains, "It was really hard to think of getting rid of my daughters first bicycle because it had memories attached to it and I didn't want to let it go. But I transformed it into something else that I still have around so that I cannot be a hoarder but still hold on to the memories." He says, "There is a piece of the thing that we used to make fires in and grill hot dogs in from our house in Michigan. Kids were very sad to see that go, so I yanked the door off and brought it with me, and now its part of the dinosour."
Whether its, the rabbit, dragonfly, snail, t-rex or the triceratops, White says each one is like a scrapbook that transforms with time. Speaking of the triceratops that he moved from Michigan with him a year ago he says, "This looks much different than when I made it because its rusting and its fading away and its returning back to the earth whether I want it to or not. And I think that's a very kind of natural thing. Memories fade, human experience fades. You make something. It's bright shiny and new, and then it doesn't last. And I think thats kind of neat. I kinda like it. Its kind of natural."
Also natural is how they become part of his yard. He explains, "Birds roost on them, bees live in them, they are part of the world."
So far White has made 5 large pieces that are in his yard... he doesn't plan to sell any of these. But he says, he may sell his next piece. If you would like to follow Andy White's work you can do that on twitter at @Andrew_A_White or his anthropology blog andywhiteanthropology.com