Recycling, Art, and Mardi Gras. What do they have in common? Quite a bit for New Orleans artist- Stephan Wanger.
My friends and I stumbled upon Wanger's gallery/studio space by accident while shopping on Magazine Street in New Orleans. Stephan Wanger is a self-taught artist who channels his creative energy into assembling brightly colored mosaics using recycled Mardi Gras beads. Although not formally trained, his work seems to reference fine artists like Seurat and Lichtenstein with similar repeating dot compositions. Stephan recreates iconic Louisiana images to make the innate beauty and unique culture of this area available to the world.
One of my favorite pieces he did ended up gracing the cover of New Orleans Magazine.
He aims to bring attention to the global warming crisis through the use of recycled materials in fine art. Mardi Gras parades generate about 10,000 tons of trash distributed along the entire gulf coast every year, most of which is beads. Wanger collects discarded beads throughout Mardi Gras in an effort to clean post-parade debris, but regularly visits salvage yards to gather additional materials for his work. Through his art, he hopes to inspire the citizens of Louisiana to recycle and to create, and encourage the rest of the world to appreciate the unique culture and natural beauty that Louisiana has to offer.
In January of 2012- Wanger completed a Guinness World Record for the World's Largest mosaic called "Santuary of Alegria" (pictured below). The mosaic is 8'x30' and depicts the skyline of New Orleans.
If you are ever shopping on Magazine Street in Nola, stop by his gallery and take a peek!
Find out more here: http://www.galeriaalegria.com/index.html
- Recycled Mardi Gras Beads Make World's Largest Mosaic (sierraclub.typepad.com)
- World's Largest Mardi Gras bead mural takes shape -- video (videos.nola.com)