It all started with a coin on the ground. Local artist Anthony Pego was looking for inspiration, and it just wasnt coming. An artist by trade, he was branching out from two-dimensional art, things that hang on walls. A lot of the stuff he had been doing lately involved discarded materials.
His recent show at Cheevers Cafe, 2409 N. Hudson Ave. of paintings on salvaged wood had sold out. He had liberated the wood from an old floor being torn out of a house in his neighborhood, cut it into monster shapes and painted it. During the process, he had fallen in love with upcycling, taking something used or discarded and giving it a new purpose. He was looking for something new, and he wasnt finding it.
[I] took more walks and looked for anything I could upcycle. Just anything nuts, bolts, you name it, Pego said. And as I was walking, I was jangling the coins in my pocket, and then I realized I had in my pocket the cheapest, nicest material I could find.
Pego could even visualize what he would do with them: work them into a ring shape and then fill them with polymer resin, turning them into wearable art.
I fill them with all kinds of things: various minerals, Oklahoma red dirt, found objects, little paintings, he said. And the polymer resin cures harder than glass; its pretty scratch-resistant and easy to reapply.
The necklaces are miniature masterpieces, no two the same, with tiny bits of treasure hidden in the resin.
You can find Pegos jewelry at a couple locations around the metro: Twisted Root Gallery, 3012 N. Walker Ave., and Graphite Elements & Design, 1751 NW 16th St. Or you could be the lucky winner of this months X Marks the Art, Pegos newest project.
X Marks the Art is a scavenger hunt for a local cache of art. Pego started the project last year, but due to unexpected circumstances, he had to put it on hold. He renewed his interest this year while browsing back through old projects, forgetting why he stopped in the first place and jumping back in with ideas to make it better than last time.
The way were making it, there are two rules: The person that finds the art has to post it on social media, and then they must, on their honor, give away one of the pieces that they win, Pego said.
The hunt is social media-based, comprised of clues posted on Facebook (facebook.com/XMarksTheArt) and Twitter (@XMarksTheArt). It starts at 4 p.m., and during the first hour, searchers can find a specific person who can help them find the X. After 5 p.m., the clues get increasingly more specific as the hunt continues.
Once the cache is found, its posted to social media and the hunt is over for another month.
[This months] XMA falls on Sept. 11, Pego said. While this is a somber day, I feel that taking time on that date to reflect is necessary and respectful. But I also feel living life to its fullest, carrying on with the parts of our lives that enrich us, is not counter to the respect [for] that date.