“I call it rare painting,” said Clarkston of her two-dimensional, unorthodox style incorporating rehabilitated plastic. “I do a lot of tiki and mid-century themes, kitschy things with a ’60s or ’70s vibe. All have mosaics.”
Clarkston got started in plastic art accompanying her husband who liked to run on the beach. She didn’t, so she walked instead.
“I would find all these little pieces of plastic, and originally I would just throw them away,” she said. “But then I started collecting them and filling up bags or coffee cans with them. Then it got to where I would be collecting a big bucket of plastic pieces. [Plastic] is very pervasive. It’s everywhere.”
Clarkston works from a home studio and sells her art online, and also at art shows at various venues. She talked about the message she’s trying to deliver.
“No piece is too small is my tagline,” she said, adding the size of her work ranges from post cards to standard-size picture frames. “It’s all about the trash. I don’t want it to look trashy. My goal is to elevate [plastic] like any other media. It’s a challenge.”
The artist noted people often get the big plastic stuff, the bottles, etc. but what still gets left behind are smaller things like plastic bottle caps. “Even if you don’t make art out of it, my message is get it out of the beach so it doesn’t go down into the ocean,” Clarkston said.
Artist Mel Clarkston’s Let’s Get Trashed Art pieces titled “No Piece is Too Small!” are on exhibit through Sunday, March 31 at Alexia Rose Gallery, Arts District Liberty Station, Suite 201. A Youtube video of Clarkston’s art is available at https://bit.ly/2pDUOov.