Need art supplies? Hit the beach! That’s what artists Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang do to find the materials for their eco-art pieces. The two have been collecting plastic debris from a one kilometer stretch of Kehoe Beach in Northern California — and creating sculptures, mosaics, and other art pieces that reveal both the environmental problem of plastic pollution and the beauty of discarded trash.

Richard and Judith’s work’s profiled in a fascinating 8-minute video created by Eric Slatkin and Tess Thackara. The artists’ pieces are often abstract and enigmatic, and the artists’ environmental work seems to be both fun and labor-intensive. After all, we’re talking about picking up trash from the beach — and hauling home the resulting collections. The two artists can pick up 70 to 75 pounds of trash just by scouring that 1-kilometer of beach for a couple hours!

“Are we cleaning the beach? There’s no way that we can clean the beach,” says Richard in the video. “Judith says we’re not cleaning the beach, we’re curating the beach. We’re picking up the things we really like.”

Watch the video to see some of the artists unique finds — like a plastic toy oil truck last made in 1949, and a lighter likely used and tossed in Korea.

The Beach as art supply store
Artists Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang find materials for their eco-art pieces by picking up plastic debris from the beach.