Laura and I road tripped across the country with a fish named Candy Ass made of shards of metal and rusty nails. The sharp-edged sea creature is the work of Greensboro artist Frank Russell, a new acquisition of mine that will hang in my room once I get one. Laura and I decided to document the fish’s journey from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific.
Greensboro, North Carolina
All packed up, Candy Ass warms by the fire before his cross-country road trip to Portland.
Mississippi River, Tennessee
Candy Ass gazes over the slow-moving Mississippi, loving the fact that it’s pouring rain.
At 7 a.m. the morning after, Candy Ass is still on Beale Street.
The Plains, Oklahoma
Candy Ass is home, home on the range — but not feeling quite at home.
Candy Ass poses with a giant steer after completing the Big Texan Steak Ranch’s 72-ounce challenge: eating a 72-ounce steak in less than an hour.
The Middle of Nowhere, New Mexico
Running on empty, Candy Ass curses the fact that this gas station’s closed in the middle of the snowy New Mexican desert.
The Desert, Arizona
Candy Ass looks over the dry Arizonan desert and dreams of the mighty Mississippi.
More Desert, Arizona
Three fish out of water in the Arizonan desert.
San Francisco, California
After taking a much-craved dip in the San Francisco Bay, Candy Ass admires the Golden Gate Bridge.
And now, for few words on the Candy Ass’ creator:
Frank Russell does not get upset when people leave broken appliances and scrap metal at the end of his driveway. In fact, he’s grateful. The Greensboro artist hammers discarded items he finds around town into sculptures of gape-mouthed sea creatures. At his hand, meatloaf trays become snouts, rubber hoses become tentacles and tin cans become dorsal fins. Piles of trash become fish, seahorses, turtles, crabs and stingrays.
In addition to creating a body of sea creatures that has gained a worldwide following, Russell has recycled nine tons of material since he started making the sculptures in 1999. He is central to the development of the art scene in downtown Greensboro.