Ruben Santurian makes South Florida garbage into art.
Santurian, from Weston, looks in garbage cans for wood, plastic water bottles, paper, glass and others to incorporate into his art in an effort to raise environmental awareness.
And this year, he will participate in Fort Lauderdale Beach’s Rock the Ocean’s inaugural Tortuga Music Festival, which looks to raise awareness about marine conservation and issues affecting the world’s oceans.
“To be able to work with the garbage carried by the sea is fantastic,” Santurian said. “This is the opportunity to show people that what they are desposing in our oceans can be turned into something positive and creative.”
Santurian got the idea to collect garbage started in 2000 while still in his native Argentina. He was planning his regular Sunday asado, or BBQ, and as he prepared to cook, he saw some barely used wooden boxes thrown away by a local supermarket.
“I thought we just needed to do something to find a positive way to see garbage,” Santurian said. “To do something with it, to give it value.”
Santurian, an architect and artist, incorporated this new type of green art into his routine, keeping an eye out for the “good” garbage.
In 2001 Santurian’s architecture job brought him to the United States.
“This country provides a lot more garbage,” said Santurian, who only spends money on occasional glue, nails or hammers. “The garbage here gives me much more materials that I can incorporate in my art and that feed my creativity.”
His work includes art like "Hombres Trabajando" or Working Men, a piece with men made out of toilet paper rolls, which won an award in Louisiana for highlighting green art.
He also created the "Zephyrhills Tower," a structure made out of disposed water bottles that is more than six feet high.
Santurian and said he enjoys walking through the streets in his neighborhood looking for garbage.
“Sometimes people stop to ask me about what I’m doing and they look at me with weird faces,” said Santurian, who despite using an unusual form of art has made it his mission to continue raising awareness of the environmental problems.
“The art that I try to create is just a message,” said Santurian. “A message that says stop to pollution, stop with the garbage, and let’s make something positive to take care of our environment.”