Bio: Becky Wilkes lives with her husband on Eagle Mountain Lake in Azle, TX. Educated as a Chemical Engineer at Texas A&M, she chose to spend much of her life as a stay-at-home mother of four children who have now blessed her with a multitude of perfectly fantastical grandchildren. Thus began her study of chaos and order. Her current vocation is a blend of urban archeologist, anthropologist, sociologist, trash collector, and photographer.
Statement: “From Janie to Janie” is a series of collages built from debris collected from the lakefront. They are my attempt to bring understanding to the collection and reveal the variety, quantity and rate of disintegration of the materials in the environment.
During the drought of 2014-15, receding water levels unveiled hidden shorelines and abundant debris. Walks along our lakefront became a treasure hunt, albeit of contemporary archeology. I committed to document each "artifact" found and was often clueless what I was photographing until it was unearthed. Akin to superstition when capturing an object’s image, I assumed responsibility for it. Dutifully, I pushed my wheelbarrow along the shoreline to assist in the removal of these items. By year’s end, I had collected 5,833 pieces of trash! Debris over time, combined with sun, wind and wave breaks apart into interesting bits of color, sometimes recognizable, sometimes not. Without being overly obvious, the viewer can be lead to consider the impact of bottles and other debris in our recreational areas.
Initially, I set aside my biases about the nature of trash and focused on my fascination with the findings. Often I would speculate how particular debris arrived on the lakefront. However, with the abundant runoff of the May 2015 flood, and subsequent barrage of debris filling our immediate landscape, I witnessed the migratory nature of trash in our waterways flowing from our drainage ditches and roadways. Our lake while only 9 square miles in size is fed by a watershed of over 800 square miles. It appears that by accidental or intentional action, our water resources are being inundated on a massive scale by the individual fingerprints of personal irresponsibility.