Recycling Takes on New Meaning

By Eric Olson

March 1, 2013 Updated Mar 1, 2013 at 10:15 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Indiana--Patrice Farmer planned on a writing career until she attended art school New Mexico. Visiting the art galleries of Santa Fe changed her mind.

Farmer is a self-described folk artist…her paper mache creations reflecting her mixed heritage…her mother was African American, her father white Puerto Rican. These days Farmer is creating mask like those used in Puerto Rico to celebrate Carnivale. Farmer’s pieces are beautifully finished and very expressive…her figurative work in particular, full of emotion.

“Some artists, they want perfection they want it to look a certain way,” Farmer explains. “I want you to feel it…what you’re actually seeing is my emotion.”

Farmers art also comes with a twist. Her pieces are made of recycled materials. Boxes of old newspaper, plastic bottles and cardboard fill her studio. A plastic milk jug cut in half…will be transformed into this.

“I use every material I can find, I use everything,” she explains. “You take something other people throw away and you make art out of it. To me that’s pretty incredible.”

farmer’s artwork is attracting attention…the media have taken notice as have local galleries…proof of what you can create with a few throwaway materials, a lot of talent..and a little Caribbean spice tossed in. It’s how this child of the islands honors her ancestors, while creating a life in art along the way. This is Eric Olson reporting.




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