Rather than continuing to work in biology laboratories post-graduation, Ian Trask ’05 opted to pick up trash. After winding his way through various jobs, he ended up as a groundskeeper at a hospital in Massachusetts, cleaning parking lots and he ultimately deciding to use trash as a medium for art.
“[While in Massachusetts,] I thought, ‘What the hell am I doing with my life right now? And how did I find myself with an expensive degree from Bowdoin picking up parking lots?’” said Trask. “I tried to square up what I can do with art and how it’s still beneficial and how I can make it less about myself.”
Though he only took two visual arts classes while at Bowdoin, he has found a community of artists in Brunswick’s Fort Andross, years after his graduation.
His work is based completely on donated materials and changes based on what he acquires. Trask’s latest piece consists of over 400 “spores”—colorful spheres of various sizes crafted with yarn, belts, children’s toys, plastics and other found materials.
“I’m always finding potential in this otherwise discarded, unwanted, forgotten, neglected resource,” said Trask.
Trask turns his materials into projects of all sizes, from silverware sculptures to textile installations that span multiple walls. The act of collecting is integral to his artistic practice.
“Sometimes I get rid of things, but most of the time they just get tucked away and recirculated later,” he said. “The process of collecting now is a little bit more open and is really open to what other people are willing to give me.”
Currently, Trask has an exhibition in Brunswick’s Frank Brockton Gallery on Maine Street titled “Trash World.” He continues to be involved in the Bowdoin community by working part time at the Bowdoin Organic Garden.