360 Recycle transforming lives from rubbish
Scheed Cole is no stranger to media coverage. The 2017 Jamaica Energy Global national awardee is known as the man at the helm of 360 Recycle, an entity that turns trash into ‘treasure’.
Yes, he has been spending his life since 2016 transforming people’s refuse into planters, rubbish bins, playground fixtures and outdoor seats under the tagline of ‘Transforming the environment, transforming lives’.
Recently, Hospitality Jamaica caught up with him at the Health, Home and Garden Expo at the National Arena and based on what was observed, his booth was a hit, and he was perhaps the star of the show.
Cole’s lifelike sculpted animals and life-size sculpture of National Hero Marcus Garvey were the pull. They are made of the same material as the aforementioned items, but the images look so “alive” and “real”, patrons could not resist touching, and taking selfies with ‘Garvey’.
Cole said he has been creating the animals and other sculptures for a while and they are mounted all over. On display at the National Arena were an iguana, an elephant, and two lions’ heads. There are two massive horses on a property along Eastwood Park Road in St Andrew, and at the Montego Bay Legends Circle there are two lions and two crocodiles, and an elephant is at Heritage Plaza in Spanish Town. The ‘sandcastle’ at the entrance to Hellshire Beach is also his work, and there are metal pieces in private collections.
PASSION FOR REALISM
He said animals are his “passion”, and the realist that he is, he sculpted them to look as real as possible. “Realism was always my passion … I was never the abstract or the expressionism type of person. I was always trying to get things as real as possible, and I think that’s where I branched out, and I kept true to myself,” he said.
The trained art educator said though he studied art at the then Mico Teachers’ College his training did not prepare him for what he is doing with the sculptures. He was taught art history and the theory of art, and mounted exhibitions, but he was not trained to be an artist or an artisan.
“I haven’t got any form of training,” he said, in reference to sculpting. Yet, it was at Mico that the former visual arts teacher said he discovered that he could sculpt. There are two pieces of his work still at Mico since 2000, and two years ago he started a sculpture park there.
Though he did not want to be boxed in the category of ‘sculptor’, he has grown to accept the tag, and sculpting has been his life. Over the years, the artist/sculptor has worked on large pieces for a telecommunications company. He has done Marcus Garvey, Bob Marley, former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, and the late Roger Clarke.
He first got into business in 2010 after 15 years of classroom teaching, and has worked with cement, fibreglass, metal, etc. He started using recycled material in 2016. As a “material scientist”, he went in search of a lightweight, eco-friendly, durable material with which to do his sculptures. He found garbage (paper, plastic, styrofoam, etc) and transformed them into a “blend of recyclables”.
He invented a mixture called 360 RM to replace cement, and this is the material from which he now makes his sculptures. He has infused recycled material in his art and now operates a spin-off business called Sculptural Elements and Construction 01 Limited.
With his wife and some of his six children active in the business, the family is actively protecting the local environment from harmful man-made refuse. They are into the business of “responsible artistic excellence”.