GOINGS ON SANTA BARBARA : Salvage Art : For maskmaker Len Evans, who uses 'reclaimed' items from railroad tracks, the Seacliff spill means he has more material.


Who would have imagined that anything good could have come from the Seacliff train derailment?

It seems that it did, at least for Ventura artist Len Evans. Evans uses "reclaimed" items, what otherwise might be considered garbage, and turns them into attractive masks. He finds most of his material at the railroad tracks, and the derailment means more material for him to put to use.

Some of Evans' work will be displayed as part of the "Reclaimed Creations 2" exhibit at the Francis Puccinelli Gallery in Carpinteria beginning Tuesday.

Evans said that when railroad companies lay new track they carry certain metal pieces in barrels. When the pieces are used, the barrels are discarded. And that's when he takes over.

"They just dump the barrels there and leave them there. I discovered that, and then I figured out how to use them," he said.

Evans went to the derailment site last week and noticed new track being put in. "There are barrels there," he said. "I assume they are going to dump them. Of course, I'm going to be a little leery of it."

Among the artists whose work will be on display at the Puccinelli Gallery are:

Mike Blaha of Santa Barbara, who specializes in plastic. "He's got a piece that's probably got 10,000 pieces of plastic on it," Puccinelli said. "It's very colorful, things that you would recognize immediately, but when they're all together . . . it's just an incredible piece."

Carmel's Dick Marcus, who uses items he finds on the highway. "Like a soda pop can that's been crushed," Puccinelli said, "but the way he displays it, its elegant, just beautiful."

And Elena Siff of Santa Barbara, who discovered reclaimed art when a friend threw away a crate of broken masks sent from Katmandu, Nepal. Siff salvaged the fragments from the garbage and produced some new artwork. Now she's managed to build a city out of debris.

The Gallery is at 888 Linden Ave., second floor. For more information, call 684-6301.

If you missed the "Santa Barbara Artists I" exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, don't worry. The museum opened part two of that exhibit last week--appropriately titled "Santa Barbara Artists II." As with the first one, this new exhibit is meant to show off the diverse nature of the artists working and residing in the city. The show will run through Oct. 6. The museum is at 1130 State St. Call 963-4364.

First there was the solar eclipse, then the meteor shower earlier this week--it's been a pretty full year celestially speaking. But even without these special events, there's plenty to observe in the sky this time of year. Fred Marschak, a lecturer and researcher at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, will lead a telescopic viewing of the moons and rings of Saturn, Friday and Saturday nights from 9 to 10 p.m. outside the Palmer Observatory. Marschak will also discuss the earth's moon, and will point out craters and lunar landing spots. Admission is $2 (adults) and $1 (children). The observatory and the museum are at 2559 Puesta del Sol Road. Call 682-4711.

All 11 art galleries in Los Olivos will join forces Aug. 16-18 for the fifth annual "California Vaquero Revisited," an art show with a Wild West flavor. It kicks off Friday at sundown (no particular time, just sundown) with music and cowboy poetry at Mattei's Tavern, situated along California 154, two miles west of the Ventura Freeway, as is the rest of the town.

On Saturday, there will be a "Quick Draw" for artists representing the galleries. Each artist will have 45 minutes to produce a piece of art, from start to finish. All pieces will be bid on later in the day. All of the galleries will be open from noon to 5 p.m., and many will be open again Sunday. Call 688-2855. If you're worried about getting lost on your way to Los Olivos, take these directions from Lynne Norris, one of the event organizers: "You can't hardly miss anything because everything takes place smack by the flagpole."

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