Danish artist and designer Thomas Dambo, whose imaginative art pieces have graced landscapes worldwide, has started the onsite creation of two whimsical, massive trolls named Berta and Terje at Pinecrest Gardens, South Florida’s Cultural Arts Park. Dambo and his team are using locally-sourced recycled and repurposed wood, broken branches and fallen trees to bring to life his fictional story about a brother and sister who are ready to combat the ills of the world and help a wise, beautiful banyan tree.
The installation, presented by Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, will officially make its debut to the public at Pinecrest Gardens on Dec. 4 in time for Art Basel.
Equal parts mystifying art and statement about protecting the environment, Dambo and his design team use materials found in city dumpsters and their surroundings to build mesmerizing 15 to 30-foot-tall wooden troll sculptures. On average, a troll uses nearly 100 pallets worth of wood, 25,000 screws.
“I build giant wooden trolls around the world and hide them in wilderness and forests,” said Dambo, a 40-year-old recycle artist. “By doing this, I hope to lure people away from concrete cities and computer screens, into the wild and reconnect them with the natural world.”
Dambo first attracted the world’s attention with Six Forgotten Giants, six trolls he crafted and hid in forests, meadows and waterways in the suburbs around Copenhagen.
In 2018, Dambo erected Isak Heartstone in Breckenridge. The troll became so popular that large groups of people climbed on him to capture photos.
Other projects of note include Dambo’s 2018 installation of six giants at Chicago’s Morton Arboretum, which received its highest attendance in its 97-year history.
Earlier this year, Dambo was hired to construct three trolls by the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Clermont, Ky., for the 16,000 acre property’s 90th anniversary.
Dambo’s message of using trash for good is very much in sync with Pinecrest Gardens’ sustainability practices and achievements.
“All of my projects are about sustainability,’’ Dambo said. “I use branches or clean wood sourced locally because my mission is to show other people that you can build anything out of trash.”
“If you’re not familiar with the work of Thomas Dambo, then be prepared to be amazed,” said Alana Perez, Pinecrest Gardens’ director. “We can assure you they are as awe-inspiring in fanciful whimsy, sheer size and impressive construction as you’d imagine a giant wooden troll would be. Dambo’s trolls are so magical that you sense you shouldn’t disturb the scene, but let’s be honest — once complete, there will be a lot of selfie photos taken around the trolls.”
Pinecrest Gardens ($5 admission) serves as a botanic stage for numerous local, national and international artists.
Feature Photo Credit: Pinecrest Gardens