Connecticut Artist Finds Her Niche in Trash Sculpting

Artist Stephanie Hongo repurposes anything from plasticware to children's toys to create her three-dimensional trash sculptures.

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As the saying goes, "One's man's trash is another man's treasure."

It couldn't be more fitting for one Connecticut artist whose work is both eclectic and eco-friendly.

From bottle caps to children's toys, Stephanie Hongo of Southington has a use for it. But when she's sculpting at home, she goes by "Sugar Fox."

"Everything from tupperware to six-pack caps to tubbing. I love using kids' toys, especially if I can find something you can still discern what it is once it's painted," said Hongo.

Instead of pilling up in landfills, items that she has collected from friends and family over the years, are pieced together to create her three-dimensional frogs, foxes and octopi. The price tags are anywhere from $400 to $2,000. 

"I'm making something that's natural out of pieces that are unnatural so it's kind of a mixed aesthetic," said Hongo.

After quitting her job of five years, Hongo found "trash sculpting." Since 2017, she's created 161 pieces. Her very first creation is a blue elk, which lives in her dining room.

Hongo's colleagues speak highly of her work and artistic talent. Her colleague, Samantha Woodruff of Woodbridge, is the art director for the local non-profit 10selden.

"I think she is an extremely talented and gifted artist. And she has some incredible ideas that everyone should keep an eye and see what she's going to do next," said Woodruff.

People can see Hongo's pieces at Page Park Pool in Bristol where her largest piece, a 31-foot mural installation, is on display. She is also working on pieces for Zoo World in Panama City Beach, Florida. 

"I am proud of the fact that I keep all of this from going into a landfill. I've made over 160 pieces at this point, and if they weren't art, they would have gotten tossed. It's great that it didn't end up happening that way," said Hongo.

Hongo said she's been an artist her whole life, but it's trash sculpting that she finds most fulfilling.

You can find her work under her artist's name, Sugar Fox, on social media and her personal website.

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