How Artist Stephanie Hongo Transforms Household Trash into Eco-Friendly Animal Masterpieces


Stephanie Hongo, artist known as Sugarfox

Stephanie Hongo, artist acknowledged as Sugarfox

Shane Norton (2)

When trash sculptor Stephanie Hongo meets friends for drinks or evening meal, it truly is not strange for one of them to hand her shopping luggage entire of Tupperware lids, vacant soap bottles, and even a Barbie leg or two.

“They are like, ‘We saved this stuff for you,'” the 36-12 months-aged from Southington, Connecticut, tells Men and women.

By now, she’s utilized to neighbors, friends of buddies and even strangers providing her their recyclable rejects. But Hongo won’t have to have any much more rubbish. She has a heaping collection of her have at home. “You you should not need to have to be a dumpster diver to do this,” she says. “Trash is in all places.”

And for Hongo, wherever there is trash, there is art. Considering that 2017, Hongo, who’s known as Sugarfox on social media, has crafted intricate sea creatures, reasonable-hunting jungle animals and other critters out of all the things from plastic forks (perfect for owls’ feathers, claims Hongo) to plastic tubing (which make for lifelike snouts) as nicely as a hair dryer, a purse, a tooth brush, and even a hair straightener.

Related: This Eco Artist Turns Litter Into Landscape Paintings: ‘We Can Be Better, Extra Sustainable Humans’

yondu, completed 2017 Stephanie Hongo AKA SugarFox's first project artist in CT using scrap materials; Maple (giraffe) completed in October, 2021 stephanie hongo, artist known as Sugar fox

yondu, completed 2017 Stephanie Hongo AKA SugarFox’s very first project artist in CT making use of scrap elements Maple (giraffe) concluded in October, 2021 stephanie hongo, artist known as Sugar fox

Sugarfox (2)

Commencing with her to start with piece – a blue deer named Yandoo that she fashioned out of odds and finishes laying close to her condo, which she screwed with each other and spray painted in a makeshift basement art studio – she’s gone on to produce extra than 160 trash sculptures.

In the approach, she’s gained a robust subsequent on social media.

“I experience pretty privileged,” states Hongo, who enjoys creating a dwelling as an artist.

Even though she won’t take into account herself a true eco-artist, she hopes she’s inspiring some others to reuse objects that normally end up in landfills.

“I care about our environment,” suggests Hongo. “The upcycling facet of it is a lovely byproduct.”

But for her, she suggests, “the artwork arrives first.”

stephanie hongo, artist known as Sugarfox at her home in CT uses scrap materials 2021

stephanie hongo, artist regarded as Sugarfox at her house in CT makes use of scrap components 2021

Shane Norton Stephanie Hongo

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It always has. Expanding up in a “household of creators,” she says – her woodworking dad crafted their furnishings and her mother sewed their Halloween costumes – it arrived as no shock that Hongo discovered her contacting as an artist.

Soon after majoring in illustration in college or university, she and her similarly artsy twin sister commenced operating as indication artists at Trader Joe’s.

Then, in the summer time of 2017, her vocation took a sharp appropriate convert when she stumbled upon the do the job of Portuguese mural artist Bordalo II, who crafts big installations out of trash.

Roux (fox) completed completed in June 2021 stephanie hongo, known as Sugarfox CT artist using scrap materials 2021; Bodhi (lion) completed in September 2021

Roux (fox) finished accomplished in June 2021 stephanie hongo, identified as Sugarfox CT artist employing scrap elements 2021 Bodhi (lion) accomplished in September 2021

Sugarfox (2)

“I was like, ‘I could do that,'” she recalls.

Considering that she was trapped for money at the time, she says she “attempted to obtain nearly anything that I was heading to throw away. And applying scraps of wood her dad remaining powering from a venture, she went to function building Yandoo and put it on Fb.

“The reaction was overwhelmingly optimistic,” she suggests. “I thought, I need to keep performing this.”

Thus commenced her occupation as a trash sculptor.

Connected: This Ocean Activist Says Plastic Air pollution Is a ‘Women-Centered Issue’ — and Is Empowering Girls to Deal with It

Ahead of beginning every undertaking, Hongo states she figures out accurately what parts of scrap metallic, tubing and plastics she’ll require to renovate the pile of junk on her worktable into anything great, like a majestic octopus rocketing by means of the coral or a cuddly koala hugging a tree.

“I feel, ‘What would the skull of an elephant glance like? Wherever would the eyes drop in relation to the mouth?’ ” she states. “It is really a million moving matters at one particular time, but in some way it sooner or later finishes up cohesive.”

Given that her funky creations promote on Instagram at charges starting at $400, she’s been lucky plenty of to make trash sculpting her whole-time career.

“It truly is so significantly extra than I ever envisioned,” she states.


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