Radio Ocean

by Valyntina Grenier

San Francisco, California

Earth’s systems are impacted by our political systems. These encaustics are made with beeswax, damar, Carnauba and pigment on pine. The metal and plastics, essentially garbage trapped in wax, are some of the same debris that pollutes our waterways. They are my response to the climate fear that occupies our dreams and experiences. I began work on these three in late March, nearly a month into self-imposed social quarantine to shelter from COVID-19. As of July 4th in Tucson, Arizona we’re still there. Sitting On the Bay Wasting Time is an allusion to Otis Redding’s song; when I look out my window I like to imagine sitting on the dock of Bolinas Bay near San Francisco, California.

They are a part of a larger series, Radio Ocean. In l997, Charles Moore discovered The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a spiral of marine debris with exceptionally high concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge, and other debris trapped by currents of the North Pacific Gyre. I like to recontextualize that degradation with personal, local, and temporal references. Inspired by my nostalgia for Los Angeles – driving to the ocean with the radio on and dancing at live music venues– at a time when pollution and abuse of resources came into mainstream consciousness, my early work repurposes detritus one might find along the shore of El Matador Beach or littered on Sunset Boulevard.

Valyntina Grenier is a multi-genre artist living in Tucson, Arizona. Her tête-bêche chapbook Fever Dream / Take Heart, was published by Cathexis Northwest Press, January 2020. Find her at