Most people see piles of discarded CDs and think, "What a waste."
Eco-artists, however, see piles of discarded CDs and think, "Fish scales."
About two weeks ago, Wayland resident Dan Balter and artists Peter Vazquez and Juan Flores were presented with boxes of misprinted CDs discarded by a local print shop. As the three eco-artists began talking over what to do with such an impressive collection of iridescent medium, Balter said the goal became to spend two weeks creating something out of whatever materials they had available.
“We had no idea what to do with all the CDs,” said Balter, co-founder along with Vazquez of and connecting eco-artists with potential patrons. 'We were going to let the materials tell us what needed to be done.”
He said that Flores, an artist invited to take part in Fireseed Arts' launched last fall at the , imagined the CDs as scales, and the group conceptualized both a dragon and a fish before settling on the aquatic option.
The abundant CDs were inspiring, Balter said, but the three artists also needed to create a frame to which they could afix those "scales."
The goal of working with what they had proved attainable as the materials just seemed to become available exactly when they were needed, Balter said. The artists eventually constructed the frame of the enourmous fish from a combination of conduit, metal shelving, a brass bed, metal from a gazebo, a lawn mower handle, a walker, a tetherball pole and an automotive roof rack.
A few weeks of work have so far yielded a nearly 20-foot long fish that will eventually feature an additional 5 or 6-foot tail constructed from woven together plastic bags, a medium with which Vazquez has experience.
"We still have to figure out what the head will be made of," Balter said. “[The scales] look beautiful. They reflect the light. You see yourself reflected a hundred times and it makes you think about taking responsibility. There's really a lot of ways you could read into it.”
When it's finished, the giant fish will be the latest in a number of projects completed by Fireseed Arts artists. Already works of art created by the organization's artists have become fixtures at .
Balter said the fish is a picture of just how much people consume. The artists hope to debut the finished sculpture under the big tent at the Boston Green Fest Aug. 16-19 at Boston's City Hall Plaza.
The fish's fate after the festival remains a mystery, Balter said. Transfer station visitors have suggested housing it permanently at the New England Aquarium or Legal Sea Foods, but Balter said the idea of taking the fish on a tour is also under consideration.
"We want to have a bigger purpose for the fish and maybe take it on the road," Balter said. "It does have a good message about how much we consume. It's all been done in terms of the forms of art, but art can still help us understand better our communities and consumption.”
Step one is completing the fish, however, and Balter said individuals who want to help out can offer donations by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for information. He said already people have donated and the artists have written donors' names on CDs that were then incorporated into the sculpture.
Fireseed Arts artists will be at the Transfer Station off and on during open hours, with a particular push to finish the fish at the beginning of August. Once the fish is complete, Balter said the group expects to bring in a new artist-in-residence in September or October.