Trashion Team Spotlight - Interview with sHandke!

Shop name: sHandke ART

Shop address:

In a nutshell: sHandke [aka Shawna L Handke]… artist, illustrator, entrepreneur

Tell us a bit about yourself: I was born and raised in a small town in Kansas; it’s called Beloit. (Have you ever heard of it? I doubted you had!) Currently, I reside in a one-bedroom apartment in Brighton, MA where I also create all of my artwork. I create art part-time and am employed full-time by Artfact, which helps me pay the bills and provides me with insurance. I have always enjoyed creating art of all sorts, and I attempted to recycle materials while I attended college, but the professors didn’t seem to like the concept very much. Well, maybe they didn’t think it would maintain an archival quality. I have always been inspired by people’s idiosyncrasies, and every moment I get to document aspects of others’ lives, I take snapshots or sketch in one of my many sketchbooks. Overall, my artwork is an immediate reflection of my life and my interpretation of others’ lives.

Trashion materials:
scrap paper, discarded magazines and catalogues, odd pieces of
wood, random bits of canvas, credit card offers, brown bags, etc.

I transform them into:
paintings, drawings, bookmarks, cards, ornaments, coasters, and so many more items. I began a series or drawings over a year ago, which I dedicated to this concept of reusing wasted materials. This series is entitled scribbles—sketches. I began gathering others’ scribbles and turning them into original drawings.

How do you do it?
Using recycled materials to create archival quality art requires a lot of intense labor and precious time. It becomes a process. Sometimes I’ll be driving through a neighborhood and notice that someone has discarded a stack of wood, so I turn my hazards on and pull over to gather their wasted resources. Other times, I collect all sorts of material from friends. Then, I am sure to prepare the materials so it becomes a proper canvas. I really want the artwork to maintain its integrity for a long period of time, so I must ensure that it has proper quality.

What inspired you to do this and why are you involved in trashion? I first began creating artwork by re-using the resources I had because I was a poor college student. Now, I recycle as often as possible, so I can do my part to preserve the environment. (I’m not saying that I’ve completely emerged from the poverty level.) Now, I just choose to spend more time creating quality work on recycled materials rather than wasting any valuable new resources. And the reason I first decided to get involved with ‘trashion’ was because many of the people, places, and things that inspire me to create are fashion related. Sometimes, you may notice a theme of fashion in my drawings; other times, you may see anti-fashion. Plus, it’s always a lot of fun to be involved in a community!

Do you remember the first thing you made using the trashion concept? No. I don’t really recall the ‘first thing’ I made using the trashion concept. I think most things I have created have always involved some sort of reuse, especially when it comes to fashion and art. I do recall watching my dad work for hours upon hours, assembling various engines with parts that other people were discarding. And my parents would always come home from the dump with some oddity, which someone else considered to be garbage. There was always an opportunity to make some good use out of the ‘old.’ I suppose you could say that the concept to reuse was instilled in my values as a child.

What are your current projects and what is on the horizon? Currently, I am working on creating LARGE scribbles—sketches. I think most of them will be 24 inches on one side or larger. I’m using 80 lb 100% recycled paper and am trying to maintain the ‘trashion’ concept by having other people scribble on these excessively large sheets of paper prior to the beginning of my creation. I’m also creating more hand-cut, handfolded envelopes from old catalogues and magazines. For these, I try to use only high quality paper, though.

Why should people buy handmade, and buy from trashion? If we all found a purpose for something old, there would be much less waste in this world. We could all potentially have a much healthier, cleaner, and simple life. Therefore, you should support the trashion concept and some of the amazing artists involved in this community.

More you'd like to share:
I’ve been creating a new website where I will host an online portfolio. When you have a minute, check it out. It’s a work in progress.

Thank you for sharing your art with us sHandke! The new website looks great!