Go Columbia

5 MINUTES WITH Karl L. Larsen

Artist Karl L. Larsen
Artist Karl L. Larsen

Karl L. Larsen has been the embodiment of Columbia art. He’s been a facilitator of the “Before I Die” wall in Columbia and West Columbia, held several art exhibits of his work, written a book, and his most recent project, “Three seconds … and Counting,” is a new take on recycling in a new way. We talk more about that this week.

Q: For the people who don’t know you, tell us who you are.

A: I’m an artist and writer here in Columbia, my hometown. My work ranges from studio paintings, art instillations, murals, sculptures.

Q: Tell us about your latest project “Three seconds … and Counting.”

A: My latest project is a large 27-foot interactive sculpture in the shape of a single-use plastic bottle. It’s made out of nearly 12,000 used bottles.

Q: Why was the idea of the project important to you?

A: It’s a culmination of about a 10-year idea of trying to figure out how to convey the message about our consumption habits and waste practices. Through my experience with litter pickups and recycling myself and seeing that just doing those alone are viable solutions.

Q: Where did you get the bottles?

A: This project was a collaborative effort with the city of West Columbia. They sourced about half the bottles. We also got some from the zoo, local businesses and schools and Lexington County.

Q: What projects do you have next?

A: Building a sustaining container home in Austin, Texas.

Q: Why is it important to do art in Columbia and what advice do you have for the public that wants to support?

A: Doing art in Columbia was a great way to create a name for myself and to expand different horizons. The city doesn’t seemed to be geared for art the way it should. There’s a lot of hurdles for artists. For the public, begin to go to shows. Artists want to meet people and talk to them. When you buy your first piece, you look at how you purchase work in your home differently. It creates culture and keeps artists in town.

Preach Jacobs, special to GoColumbia