It was the middle of January, the depth of winter with the long, cold gray days weighing on me. I needed to go for a walk and clear my head. I left my home in Taos and walked the roadside for about 1 1/2 miles one way.
When we walk, we have a slower pace and have more time to absorb our surroundings. I started to notice all the trash and litter found along the roadside. There was a large number of mini alcohol bottles. There was so many at one stretch of road, I started to count how many steps I took between each plastic bottle. One, two, three. Mini-alcohol bottle found. One, two, three. Another mini-alcohol bottle. I was dumbfounded. As I continued to walk, I made a goal to pick these all up. I was curious about the number I would find. Walking provides time to think and meditate, and I came up with the idea to collect all the plastic bottles and form a piece of art to bring awareness to trash and litter and alcohol abuse. This idea evolved into collecting as many bottles as I could and using a hot glue gun to attach them into a 4-5 foot sculpture resembling a large alcohol bottle.
Every weekend for the next three months, I would spend one day making my walk on various roadsides in Taos. Overall, I made 12 collections total with an average of 125 bottles collected on a walk ranging from 500 yards to 3 miles. I collected more than 2,000 bottles, and the final sculpture included 1,876 bottles.
Every day we all have a choice. Please think twice about littering our beautiful roadsides of Taos and not drinking and driving.
This is a complex, confusing challenge of a social and cultural problem within a community. Although a simple but thought-provoking sculpture brings to light the ills of society and issues that go along with it, we must bring power to the truth. We, as a community, must strive for optimism and hope. Cultural activism begins right here, today.
Get involved. Webpage: roadsidechoices. wordpress.com Facebook: facebook.com/RoadsideChoices
– Crystal Muzik, Taos News Mexico