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From Landfill to Living Room- The Story of Brandon Beech
July 11th, 2008

Brandon Beach ditched a $150 thousand dollar per year job to rummage through trash heaps to find materials to make art. Find out why he says the trade-off has been well worth the sacrifice.
Brandon Beech at the Salt Lake City Farmer's Market
Brandon Beech at the Salt Lake City Farmer's Market

Brandon Beach uses junk headed to the landfill to make art and furniture. Clean cut, well spoken and not a speck of dirt on his clothing its hard to imagine Mr. Beach digging through garbage piles "dumpster diving" as he puts it, in search for his next great find.

Through imagination and ingenuity Beach turns some old trade manuals and a broken desk into educational readable furniture. The piece Iím drawn to is a small desk, offering a beautiful collage all set to a post WWII era nuclear uranium mining theme.

After Beech quit his corporate job, he had some time on his hands he began doing projects for his home that sparked his inspiration to make reclaimed art. Beech's friends began to take notice and offered to buy his work. From there Beech found a very receptive clientele in Seattle's craft trade shows, art markets and finally Seattle's Fremont Market. Eventually, Beech returned to Utah to join his family. Beech says that the Seattle to Utah art scene transition was difficult at first, but eventually Utahns like Washingtonians have found Beech's art desirable. "It keeps getting better every year," says Beech.

Artistic Process

Making art out of junk headed to the landfill requires true inspiration and ingenuity. Beech says he doesn't have a set process he follows. Instead, he often waits until his materials offer the inspiration he's looking for. "I spend a lot of time looking at things that are interesting to me. Table legs, window frames, salvaged wood. I just keep it and at some point the light goes on, and I figure out what I want to do with it. I never end up with the same piece twice, its always something new."

When Beech describes himself as a salvage artist, unlike some so called "salvage artists" Beech literally means it.

Brandon Beech chair
Brandon Beech chair

"My favorite place to salvage is in the salt lake county clean up. I find some of my most interesting materials curb side dumpster diving. I'm always on the look out for homes being remodeling. Its really stuff that is headed to the dumpster. The things that I do buy are paint and brushes. Most of the trade journals come from people who offer them to me, who know I will make use of them." Beech says he will sometimes purchase trade journals on rare occasions. "If I find something with really good graphics in second-hand stores, I have $2 limit for what I will spend on a book."

This past week Beech found a treasure trove that provided the materials for his next Farmer's market offering. "Out scrounging through community clean up I found an entire set of 1930 encyclopedias." Beech says he has built boxes out of these books that he will have ready for the next Farmers Market on Saturday. Last week Beach sold eight pieces.

Asking Beech if he would ever consider going back to the corporate world Beech says," No way, I would never trade this lifestyle for that again. Honestly, you do get paid more doing the corporate stuff. But everyone knows the trade off in terms of lifestyle."

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