Bryant Holsenbeck

Durham, NC | Exhibiting Since 1979

I make art with “stuff” we no longer need, transforming it. My hope is that people will begin to think more about what we throw away, where it goes and finally be inspired to use less of it. This is a hope. In the middle of this, I decided to not only use some of this “stuff” to tell stories about the world around me, but to begin to actively use less of it.

For me being an artist means expressing what I see in the world around me. Looking at what I am curious about, like what birds might be in my yard at any given moment, and asking larger questions of the world, like how climate change is affecting these same birds.

I began my artist career as a basket maker using techniques passed down from ancient times to weave materials I found in the natural world to make baskets. The sociologist in me knew that baskets had been replaced in our current culture with shopping carts and grocery bags. At the same time that I was studying what the indigenous peoples of the world used to make baskets in order to carry and store things, I looked at what we were using for these same purposes today. This propelled me to use human-made societal cast-offs to make baskets, and then sculpture and finally installation art about the large quantity of “stuff” produced and then thrown “away”. Currently I am using plastic bags and textile scraps to make the animals I see around me. And with the help of local communities, I am using plastic debris from our watersheds and oceans to make large-scale environmental installations.