Todd Bank brings his 50-foot wall of artistically upcycled materials to Fiesta La Ballona

By Kelby Vera

Culver City is putting zero waste consciousness on public display this weekend through an especially resourceful art installation in Veterans Park for Fiesta La Ballona.

Artist Todd Bank’s “Wonderful Wall of Waste,” which will be stationed at the corner of Overland Avenue and Culver Boulevard Friday through Sunday, is a colorful 50-foot-long structure that’s made of 99% post-consumer waste materials and weighs a whopping 3.5 tons. It’s the culmination of more than two decades of work for Bank, who spent years collecting materials.

The wall is a beautiful hodgepodge of leftovers, ranging from antiques to sports equipment, toys, musical instruments, jewelry and  everything in between. Originally spanning a full 100 feet, the structure has now been pared down by half. Smaller versions have previously popped up at 2017’s Night on Broadway Art and Music Festival in DTLA and during Pasadena’s 2018 BoldPas art event.

Though the wall is undeniably fascinating, Bank wasn’t focused on making something pretty.

“It’s not supposed to be an aesthetically beautiful piece of art. … The wall is a giant slice of the landfill, so it allows people to see accurately what a landfill looks like. This is what people throw away — perfectly good reusable stuff.”

The piece is part of the larger Zero Waste World section of Fiesta La Ballona, which is hosting sustainability activities and environmental education popups for attendees.

In addition to the wall — which is being sponsored by Culver City’s Office of Sustainability and the Culver City Arts Foundation — Bank is bringing along a smaller sculpture which he’ll let the public collaborate on, creating a communal piece of zero waste art.

Bank hopes the wall makes people recognize the utility of things unwanted, as well as open their eyes to new creative possibilities.

“People can see that anybody can make zero waste art. I hope they get the message that if you ever want to become an artist, don’t ever cry about not having enough materials. There is a world out there.”