Art by a Thousand Cuts: Local Artist Turns “Trash” Into Treasure

Josh Wagner-Silver

After cutting 684 squares of recycled silver paper, punching 2,736 holes in said paper and connecting them with 2.700 jump rings, artist Josh Wagner unveiled Still-life of Silver, a shining example of his artwork and his dedication to upcycling.

Josh was born and raised in a small, rural town in New Jersey. His parents owned a landscaping business, and growing up, Josh would often help out and collect discarded items he’d find lying around the work site.


“Much to my parents’ dismay, I would often bring home a bucket or box of trash [materials] rather than throwing them away. I couldn’t stand to see things go to waste, especially if they looked cool or I thought I could use them for another purpose. I still do that today, I guess. Only now I call it hoarding with a purpose.”

Today, the sculptor and educator continues to save discarded items – including abandoned artwork – from landing in a landfill, breathing new life into old items and giving them a renewed purpose as uniquely beautiful works of art. Check out an exhibit of Josh’s work Thursday, March 19 – April 13 in our Studio Gallery.

Josh Wagner-Winter

“There’s very little in this life I love more than taking a broken sculpture (or piece of art in general) that someone has discarded or abandoned and fixing it up and seeing it with new eyes. this panel/figure was broken and had never been glazed. after rescuing it, I call it Then Came Winter.” – Josh Wagner