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Willowbrook student creates art from recycled items

Lombard, IL

It took a pile of aluminum cans, a creative vision and hours of hard work, but the end result of a class project was something Jackson Holler refers to fondly as “Endy.”

It’s a piece of art, standing nearly as tall as an adult — though not as tall as its creator — made completely out of aluminum cans and wire coat hangers. In May, Holler submitted his “tin can man” in the DuPage Sculpture Show, which was hosted at Lilacia Park and coincided with Lombard’s Lilac Time.

“I feel like people really enjoyed it,” he said. “A lot of families were interested in it. A lot of people wanted to take pictures with it.”

Jackson, 16, is a sophomore at Willowbrook High School and was encouraged to enter Endy by his art teacher, John Epple. The sculpture show featured artwork from local high school and college students and established local artists.

“Mr. Epple told me that the requirements for the art show were that (the sculptures) needed to be 2 feet tall, so he encouraged me and a few other students to participate,” Jackson said.

The tin can man was created last semester when Jackson took an Introduction to 3D class, which focused on creating pieces by using clay and other natural products. The assignment from which Endy evolved required the students to create multidimensional artwork using materials they recycled or found around the house.

Jackson found his inspiration in a pile of empty soft drink cans he found at this house. To fashion the sculpture, he crushed the cans and then threaded the wire coat hangers through the material.

“Originally, I thought it would be smaller, but when I started putting it together, I realized how big it would be,” he said.

This semester, he’s taking Clay 1 at the school, which has been a great experience, he said. Before beginning high school at Willowbrook, Jackson said he enjoyed 2D art, such as drawing, sketching and painting, and credits the school for helping him develop as an artist.

“I’m really grateful to the art department here for all of the opportunities for different classes,” he said.

Jackson plans to take more art classes at the school next year and has summer plans to complete another art project using recycled materials. Recently, he acquired an unused piece to an old boiler at the school, and hopes to use this as the base to a summer art project.

He’s comfortable in the school’s art department, expresses himself confidently as a young artist and is looking forward to continuing to develop his portfolio through new classes and independent projects.

“I really enjoy getting the chance to express myself,” Jackson said. “Sometimes my artwork can be so much stronger than words. I love having a finished end product that I can show people.”

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