Recycle Artist Trolls World With Huge Sculptures And Green Message

Jul 11, 2024

Thought Question: What creative ways can you think of to turn everyday waste into something useful or beautiful?

Thomas Dambo’s trolls lurk in surprising places around the world. Unlike the monsters of Nordic folklore, these giants don’t sniff out Christians. Nor do they loiter under bridges giving brutal tests to travelers. They also don't turn to stone when exposed to sunlight. But they are symbols holding a message from an artist on a mission. “Waste no more,” Dambo says. 

In 2011, Dambo quit his day job to pursue his art. Since then, he’s been trekking the globe. He's placed trolls as tall as 42 feet in parks and other spots. His trolls are made from tons of recycled items. They can be seen poking a tongue at people in a small Minnesota town. You may also find them standing with a spear on a hill in Chicago, hugging a tree in the western Australian town of Mandurah, and reclining by the water in Sentosa, Singapore. Dambo has built nearly 140 of them.  

They also have odd names, such as Curious Sue, Ronny Funny Face, and Barefoot Frida.  

“Today, I spend my life showing the world that (lovely) things can be made out of trash,” Dambo says on his website. “I give new life to discarded (items) by turning them into large-scale artworks.”  

Those items include scrap lumber, plastic yellow bins, even windshield wiper blades. These were used as whiskers for a giant rabbit that Dambo recently installed with five trolls in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Each troll takes about 750 hours to complete, Dambo told The Washington Post.

The 44-year-old artist also holds workshops and delivers TED Talks where he preaches the virtues of environmental stewardship.

“Everything I make,” Dambo told reporters in May, “I try to make out of something that has been (used for) something else.”     

Photo of one of Thomas Dambo’s trolls from Instagram courtesy of @thomasdambo.

Without changing the meaning of the sentence, which word(s) can be used to replace "discarded" in the sentence: “I give new life to discarded materials by turning them into large-scale artworks.”? (Common Core RI.5.4; RI.6.4)
a. old
b. cheap
c. expensive
d. thrown away
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