When she created a sculpture of a leaping tarpon on behalf of sunglass maker Costa Del Mar, Cindy Pease Roe really turned heads. She made the sculpture entirely out of trash and plastic debris that she found on beaches, in an effort by her and Costa Del Mar to highlight the issue of oceanic pollution. We caught up with Roe to find out more.
What inspired you to start using oceanic debris to make sculpture?
In 2010, I had moved to the North Fork of Long Island (New York). I was walking my dogs along the beach and saw a lot of plastic embedded into the rocks. I thought, where is this coming from?
I collected a bunch of materials and made a wreath out of it and hung it on my studio door. People started asking about it and I decided I could help draw attention to the plastics problem, which isn’t going away. I went out of my way to find scientists on the East Coast who care about the issue. I became an artist in residence for Rachel Miller and her Rosalia Project (rosaliaproject.org), which is dedicated to cleaning and protecting our oceans.
How did you get involved with Costa Del Mar?
A friend of mine who had been involved in Costa’s Kick Plastic campaign put us in touch. Costa wanted a tarpon sculpture. Everything involved in sculpting that tarpon is 100 percent ocean debris. Even the fishing rod that I used for its base, I happened to find that on the beach so it worked out.
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Did you grow up near the ocean?
I have spent my whole life on the water. I grew up clamming and beachcombing on Cape Cod. I love spending time on the beach and we love going out on our boat. Being in or on the water is my favorite place to be. And I have watched the habitat degradation over the last 40 years. I want to be part of the change.