Thursday, November 18, 2010

Coronado's Beach Trash Becomes Art?

This week I scoured Coronado Beach and San Diego Bay during low tide, walking the packed, glossy sand in search of...refuse. That's right, people. I'm feeling trashy.

I was inspired to clean up the beach after writing my recent message in a bottle article, as well as reading about Kim MacConnel's new exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla. MacConnel's been collecting trash, particularly plastic, from the beach since 1975. He creates works of art, including his "Beach Trash Clown," from salty consumer scraps. Recently, he was highlighted in the San Diego Union Tribune for finishing a piece thirty-five years in the making entitled "Selections from the Beach Collection."

We (my kids and I) wanted to see what we could find and create.

Top 4 Trashy Items Found at Low Tide:
  1. Coke can, collected from the Ferry Landing area on San Diego Bay;
  2. Plastic shovel/beach toy handle, found at the Ferry Landing area on San Diego Bay;
  3. Beverage cap, Coronado Beach; and (yes, again)
  4. Beverage cap, Coronado Beach.
What We Created:

I know the suspense is killing you. Don't laugh.
Beach Trash Snail
(Awesomely amateur photo (and art?) by Carrie Keyes)
Uh, yeah. I'm no MacConnel. It's harder than it looks, people! While I've got no chops for contemporary art, I think MacConnel and I would agree that cleaning up the beach and engaging in a creative endeavor is time well spent. It challenges one to look beyond the literal Coke can and consider shape, color, and unconventional possibilities.

My snail's not going to change anyone's life, but I like him. After all, his personality is created from trademark beach day relics. Who wouldn't enjoy a playful pail-and-shovel day at the seashore, with plenty of icy refreshments? The four discards listed above are now re-purposed and assembled to adorable mollusk.

I know. My snail's totally random. He's in my yard now. At least he won't eat my flowers or leave a silvery trail across my patio. Should we give him a name?

What can you create? Grab a friend, your spouse or your kiddies (but please supervise to avoid toxics) and scour the beach for supplies for your work of art. If you pencil it in, you just might find paradise where a pristine shoreline meets your creative soul.

* Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art.
* The YouTube song of the week is for your Littles. It's Oscar the Grouch's music video "I Love Trash."
* Support I Love a Clean San Diego.
* What do you think? Should CoSA artists tackle this project?
* Thanks to the Coronado Rotary who clean up our beaches monthly!
* What's the most interesting thing you've found on the beach?

(Pencil in Paradise can be found at, and You can also find Paradise on Facebook (search Pencil in Paradise) and on Twitter @CarrieKeyes.)

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