Going green, recycling, and upcycling are the affairs of Ira Mency. What is considered trash for most of us is a treasure turned into art for this Baltimore artist. Her story begins at the age of 16, living alone and juggling high school and working two jobs. She was the girl people saw dumpster diving in the apartment complex for broken things that she could fix up and re-use. Neighbors would bring her items as if she was the Goodwill drop off.
Her art is not strange; it is unusual but jovial and inquisitive. Her friends called her workshop “alive curiosity shop.” Mency recycles anything and everything that crosses her path. In her workshop, one will see an old plastic rocking horse, a wood potato barrel, painted tables in wacky colors, sculptures out of broken objects, bottles filled with forgotten and broken parts, discarded toys, and much more. For Mency, upcycling and recycling EVERYTHING is the “the hip thing to do,” and I may add—a worthy act.
Her husband convinced her to give up her office job. This afforded her opportunity to focus on her art, travel, write, blog, and raise money for charity. In 2009, she had her first museum experience, where she was asked to exhibit a collection of her works at the Cameron Art Museum in North Carolina. This excitement however, was short lived. Her mom became ill with cancer and after fighting all the way to the end—passed away. Thus, her artwork came to a halt right at the height of her art career. Years later, she decided to begin again and went into her workshop and brushed the dust off things, and started creating again.
Mency has found a way of dealing with life’s ups and downs though artwork, and she shares this message: “I’m a living proof that art heals, and art can help others. You just have to pick up the pieces in a trash heap and move forward and make something grand!” Undeniably, the arts remove the dust off the soul as per Picasso’s adage, and keep us moving forward, where “trash” can be turned into “treasure” with endless possibilities.
Learn more about Ira Mency here: Blog