whaletail
Screenshot via Ian Montgomery

Recology San Francisco, a waste management company that works in a few states out West, has an artist-in-residence program: The company picks artists who use recycled materials in their art, gives them a monthly stipend, a studio space — naturally, it’s a shipping container — and “scavenging privileges” at the company’s San Francisco trash transfer station and other recycling areas. More than 100 artists have gone through the program, but here’s a lovely video that tells the story of one, Ethan Estess:

We kind of have a hard time believing it’s ever tough for Ethan to meet girls, even if he did smell like garbage sometimes. He’s smart, too. This is spot on: “When you dig through people’s trash on the scale of a landfill, you realize that it’s the result of collective decisions. We choose what products to buy and we choose how to discard them.” Which means, as he points out, that we can choose not to use certain products, too.

You can see all of Ethan’s work from his residency here. Recology also has a sculpture garden that features work from past artists in residence. Right now, Yulia Pinkusevich and Stephanie Syjuco are digging through these piles of materials. We can’t wait to see what they come up with.