SEATTLE — Danish Environmental Artist Thomas Dambo has spent the last month completing a fantastical public art project that’s inspiring big conversations about sustainability.
Northwest Troll: Way of the Bird King is hard to miss and easy to appreciate. Dambo was commissioned by Scan Design Foundation to install six of his custom hand-built trolls in secret locations around the Pacific Northwest. The project is a celebration of the human experience through art that amplifies the connections of cultural heritage between Coast Salish tribal communities.
Dambo’s larger-than-life creations are assembled on location and made from recycled materials.
“In nature, there is no landfill. Nature is circular, everything has a meaning and everything is recycled ” says Dambo.
A team of dedicated builders assist Dambo and local volunteers and tribal members have joined the builds. Dambo has been collaborating with members of the Muckleshoot and Snoqualmie tribes.
“Working shoulder to shoulder with Thomas and his team was a real trade of our respective cultures. I feel we are kindred spirits and have formed a life-long friendship. I’m proud to be part of the Dambo tribe now, too! ” says John Halliday of the Muckleshoot tribe.
A part of the adventure is finding the trolls for yourself and Troll Maps with hints are a great start. Dambo has more than 100 giant trolls on display across the globe and the six that are now living in the Pacific Northwest will be here for at least three years.
Ole Bolle is looking for cookies under the roof of a house in Portland and Pia the peacekeeper is an 18-foot-tall troll that sits amongst the trees at Sakai Park on Bainbridge Island.
Some say you can hear the flute from Bruun Idun who plays for the Orcas along the shores of West Seattle’s Lincoln Park. Jakob Two Trees is holding onto two massive tree trunks in Issaquah.
Over the weekend — Oscar the Bird King was introduced to residents on Vashon Island after he supposedly swam across the Atlantic ocean from Denmark. The sixth and final Troll lives in Ballard. Frankie Feetsplinter prominently sits outside the National Nordic Museum and is one more giant reminder to get out into nature and think about your role in conservation.
Dambo says he hopes to inspire with the wonders he’s created with trash.
“I’m really happy what me and my team have done over the past 100 days and I think it’s a call for all of you to think about what’s in your trash because you might be throwing out somebody's dreams,” he said.
All six trolls are easily accessible and free to view. Visitors can find clue maps and more info about each troll online.