OnLine: Collections from our Community

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Our bimonthly Collections from our Community program, housed in our front lobby case at the Arts Center, is now coming to you virtually. As with many of us sequestered at home Carole and Hue Henry have developed a morning ritual. Hue eats his morning banana and drinks his glass of water. He arranges the empty peel in the glass and Carole retrieves both to use as still-life material. Repeated day after day, the two have amassed a collection of over 100 images and have kept themselves entertained with documenting banana peels on rocks, by the river, bananas at sunset and bananas glowing in the afternoon light. 

Collections from our Community: Hue and Carole Henry’s Banana Peels

What is creativity anyway? Does it have to be lasting? Can creative moments be collected? These are some of the questions that Hue and Carole Henry’s collection of banana peel photos can bring to mind. 

"The collection began with a banana and a glass of water – a daily routine while watching “Morning Joe” each day. The banana peel was initially tossed into the trash, but one day a year ago Hue, a retired local attorney active in community theater, took the peel, inverted it into the empty glass and gave it new meaning.  Carole, a retired UGA art education professor and former middle school art teacher, started photographing the banana peel “sculptures” at first by themselves but then in different settings both inside and outside, sometimes in natural settings and other times with decorative objects found around the house. Some choices were governed by the weather; others by serendipitous events like the sight of a visiting friend’s bright yellow kayak, strapped to the top of their parked car."

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"The photos served to document the act of looking at one thing (the banana peel) and seeing or imagining something else (perhaps a flower) in a way that was fun and unique. Each banana peel was different, some riper than others, and each background an unexpected juxtaposition. Seeing them all together- over 100 images in all (only 16 are included here) documents moments of creativity that are themselves ephemeral." - Carole Henry

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OnLine: Collections from our Community

Trail Trash from the collection of Michael Lachowski

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Our bimonthly Collections from our Community program, housed in our front lobby case at the Arts Center, is now coming to you virtually. It’s fascinating to see what our neighbors treasure, care for, store away and/or display with pride. It gives us an understanding about what others hold dear and are inspired by. It also gives us an opportunity to connect with our past obsessions and reminisce as we have had collections of tiny soldiers, white ceramic cats, vintage hairpins, old-time. iron skillets, cartoon character cookie jars, it goes on and on! Currently, we have Michael Lachowski’s Trail Trash Collection.  Listen to Michael’s Interview on WUGA on Earth Day HERE

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Michael Lachowski’s Trail Trash When Michael Lachowski goes hiking or backpacking he picks up trail litter. When he gets home, no matter what it may be, how much or how little, he puts it in a sandwich bag, labels it with where he went, what trail, and who he was with. Trail mix bags, lots of cigarette butts, a lead ball / bear bullet, foil, a glow stick, shotgun casings, and fishing lure. Some trails are more littered than others — one bag contains a single lollipop stick. At first the collections seem insignificant, but when you start aggregating it, something as simple as this, little pieces of trash in a bag, have a story to tell. It shows the impact of other people and Michael, wanting to be a good little camper, wants to tidy up.


The oldest labeled bag in the collection is from 1995 and it goes on into 2000.


Even small pieces of trash stand out on the trail. A blue piece of plastic pops even among the plants and the flowers. It’s not supposed to be there. Michael would collect small pieces of trash as he walked, cramming them into his backpack pocket. He wouldn’t empty it out until he got home from a trip, and then would have a tendency to get nostalgic about the experience. He started getting wistful looking back at these recent hikes and the trash took on more importance than when initially picked up. Some of the trash was so visually interesting it inspired him to create this collection.


So, it is like a diaristic approach, which is much like Michael’s approach to drawing and photography: “This is what I saw. This is what I did.”  He is interested in exploring the mundane. For example, he used to take pictures of voids on streets — the area where car tires never roll over and that can’t be accessed to be cleaned-up by the street sweeper, so it ends up with the debris and cigarette butts that accumulate. This collection is an extension of that.


Michael was a Eagle Boy Scout and did a lot of backpacking and camping. He fell out of it when he went to college. It wasn’t until 9 years after college, after he got into cycling and while working at a bike shop, that one of those guys got him back into hiking. They went to Shinning Rock Wilderness, which is where some of the oldest of these baggies come from. Then he would get back into his band and enjoy the more urban environment trips of being in NY and big cities. When the band broke up the second time he went back to backpacking and camping, sometimes on solo trips. If someone went with him he would note their names.

Picking up trail litter expands on the wilderness motto that appears on the Woodsy Owl patch on his backpack: 

“Pack it in, pack it out.”

 

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Michael Lachowski came to the University of Georgia to study photography in the art department back when the building was on Jackson Street near downtown. His scene was built around the art school party crowd and was intensely interested in the new music of the time, leading him and his roommate Randy Bewley to form the band Pylon. Pylon broke up after two albums and lots of touring in order to “make art again,” and all of the band chose to remain in Athens. Lachowski made art and worked at Dixons Bicycles, then opened the design agency Candy, which he also turned into a DJ store and then a clothing store for men and women. Pylon reunited twice, ending for good when guitarist Bewley died of a heart attack. Lachowski published the magazine Young, Foxy & Free in Athens and then expanding to Atlanta. In 2012 he settled down with a job doing PR for the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia. 

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