“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is all I thought as I navigated through the intriguing yet bizarre Albany Bulb. The Albany Bulb itself is a landfill, composing slabs of concrete, brick, and the odds and ends of undesirable and/or unwanted materials transformed into both a park and outdoor art exhibit. Call it your modern day Island of Misfits come to life, except replace the cute cuddly characters with towering recycled waste sculptures and the winter wonderland with a graffiti paradise.
When first entering the Albany Bulb, it appeared as your everyday outdoor park with a few folks walking dogs along a dirt trail with common weeds as the perimeter and kids flying kites, contributing to the norm. As my friend and I advanced through the trail, we came to notice a shift of ambiance, as slabs of concrete and bricks painted and tagged with street art frequented throughout the ongoing pathway. Eventually we came across the mother load as we encountered hundreds of designed and decorated rocks, all compiled together leading to a house. As we ventured through the unorthodox mural towards the house, we noticed that the house too was graffittied both internally and externally; however the graffiti produced on the house was beyond captivating. The two-story house radiated with a variety of colors and tags, standing out as the most prominent and complete piece amongst the other rocks. The house being the conclusion of the rock art reminded me that of a foster home for the neglected waste, as if the house welcomed these smaller pieces of denied rubble as new entities with meaningful life purposes that the rest of the world failed to appreciate. It was as though the house was home to the forgotten, a place of new beginnings and freedom of judgment. Surprisingly, this house was not the end of the trail, it was only the halfway point to something even more eccentric and abnormal.
As my friend and I came to the end of the trail, we saw in the distance a silhouette of a woman holding her hands to the heavens. Getting a little closer, we came to analyze the women as a gigantic statue produced from recycled wood and rubbish. Furthermore, we looked around only to find more gigantic structures of people surrounding the coast: a man, two men sitting side-by-side, and a man in a red cape riding what appeared to be a dragon. The vibe of the area felt eerie, a bit unnatural, and the silence and lack of real people contributed to the uncanny environment as though my friend and I had stumbled upon “Land of the Lost”. However, going back to the woman, there was something strangely fascinating about her that I couldn’t decipher. It came across my mind that she was the metaphor of the Albany Bulb. A production of scraps and rubbish reincarnated and bonded together to create an image of grace and freedom was the collaborative message I concluded from her. In other words, one can truly make anything out of something with an open mind.
Overall, I don’t know if I’ll be returning to the Albany Bulb, but I do believe that one should experience this Wonderland in person at least once. I highly commend the creativity and craft of the artists who produced such vivid images and pieces and I truly appreciated their masterpieces. Whether you’re an art fanatic or a dog walker, (maybe both like yours truly), the Albany Bulb’s offset setting is sure to grasp the attention of all.
…and if you don’t want to read my rant, here’s a quick summary of notes and expectations:
Location: Albany, CA
Recommended time of day to go: Anytime of day before sunset
Other Similar Places Close-By: Point Isabel, Golden Gate Fields, Berkeley Marina
Good for: art enthusiasts, dog walkers, kite fliers, wind surfers, photographers
Picture 1 – Statue of Freedom
Picture 2 – Bike Racks
Picture 3 – Rock Art
Picture 4 – Daniel gazing at SF across the bay
Picture 5 – House of Misfits
Picture 6 – Noble Knight taming the Dragon