Boulder native Tina Anderson didn't jump on the beer-can art bandwagon on purpose -- she didn't even know it existed. "I had no idea beer-can art was a thing," Anderson explains. "The only thing I was really thinking was that I kinda wanted to be a green artist. But I had no idea there was this craze in recycled art. It was a surprise. A pleasant surprise."
But her art career has been pleasantly surprising from the beginning.
"It's one of those things," she says. "I literally woke up one morning and thought, 'All the beer cans and caps I throw away? I can make fish out of those. I am going to smash cans and wire them together and make three-dimensional fish.'"
In Denver, Anderson's art hangs from the ceilings of Bender's Tavern, the Avenue Theater and Rooster & Moon Coffee Pub; it's also featured at Oskar Blues in Lyons. Although she doesn't have a website or a gallery that reps her, Anderson stays busy with custom orders.
"People see my stuff and then e-mail me, or else they buy them off the walls," she says. "My biggest order was for Oskar Blues: 200 fish."
Anderson gets her cans from local businesses, like Cap City and Rooster & Moon, and she doesn't discriminate about what brand of beer she uses. She made PBR fish for Rooster & Moon because the owner likes PBR, and Dale's Pale Ale for Oskar Blues; she's used Budweiser and other brands just because of how the colors look. She'll even branch out from beer when people order fish for their children. "The beer-can fish don't sell well with kids," she says. "Thank god for Coke."
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Anderson's not snooty about her art -- the prices are affordable ($15 to $400), and any part of an installation can be purchased. "You can buy anything you want," she says. "You can buy one fish, or a school of fish, or a turtle. A lot of people buy singles and then say, 'You know what? He needs friends.' Then they buy more."
Anderson will be participating in the Juried Art Exhibit at the Recycle Santa Fe Art Show in early November. Meanwhile, she's keeping busy around Denver. To contact her, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.