Fredericton — A local artist known for their elaborate sculpting abilities is wowing Frederictonians with their latest piece titled Hoarder’s Paradise. The surrealist artwork is described by artist Joel Haverton as “a juxtaposition between the old and the new, the derelict and the ultramodern.” Hoarder’s Paradise resembles any other pile of trash, but Haverton maintains that each piece was carefully selected and delicately placed by his practiced hands.
A Manatee reporter asked if this mound of trash is a way of showing just how much people consume and throw away.
“Nope, I just thought there might be some valuable stuff in there and maybe if folks want to come by and pick through, they can make me an offer on what they find,” said Haverton. “Nobody is buying my art anymore since everyone was laid off due to COVID, so I thought maybe if someone driving by sees an old wrench or something they’d pay three bucks or something for it.”
Haverton’s exquisite artwork has been featured on CBC Arts, The Maritime Edit and Grid City Magazine. He says his latest piece is going up for sale on Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace rather than the places he would normally advertise his work.
“The city actually asked me if I would make the same thing in the middle of the downtown roundabout, but I checked and there was already a bunch of empty Tim Hortons cups and Bud Light cans there, so someone beat me to it,” said Haverton. “This isn’t my best work. Honestly, I hesitate to even call it art, but all the local arts boards are just eating it up.”
Hoarder’s Paradise contains original items such as a dilapidated car, old clothes and a broken barbecue, all set in an overgrown lawn full of weeds. Haverton said local community members even help add to the piece by throwing coffee holders out their windows into the pile as the drive by, which he leaves undisturbed as a form of abstract art.
“It’s quite the eyesore, but then again, I don’t have the discerning eye of an art critic,” said Haverton’s neighbour Kelly Morton. “I wish he’d get rid of it because it’s starting to stink up the whole street — I think a skunk died in the car. But if I say anything I’ll be accused of not supporting the local arts community.”
Despite the debate over whether it’s art or garbage, Haverton said the population of Fredericton will always have junk art in some form or another.
“In Fredericton it’s not about whether the art is good or bad,” he explained. “It’s about if the city can control it and whether it fits in with Fredericton’s hip image. I guess they think this pile of trash on my front lawn fits in with that.”