It’s been about 16 years since Patrick Amiot began transforming his street, and eventually much of Sebastopol, into an outdoor art gallery. About a decade ago we became neighbors and we’d hang out on his porch talking about life, art and turning dreams into reality. I wrote a short piece about Sebastopol for Sunset and mentioned his work, I also wrote about him and his wife Brigitte Laurent for Sonoma magazine and The Press Democrat.

From 2013 to 2016, Eric McIntyre and I made a short film about Amiot and Laurent’s work, click here to watch the trailer. But he spoke as eloquently as ever in a recent interview with me for this story in Sierra magazine.

Brigitte Laurent and Patrick Amiot in front of their masterpiece, a carousel with 44 of his ride-able figures installed near Toronto in 2016.

Excerpt from Sierra magazine:  Amiot and Laurent hope their message is about more than turning junk into art and reducing the amount of waste going into landfills. They hope their work demonstrates how a neighborhood can be a “magical place” where kids grow up thinking anything is possible.

“All of a sudden, it’s normal to have something big, bold, and crazy in front of your house. That to me is way more important than anything else,” Amiot said. “In mainstream America, you don’t see giant sculptures in front of people’s houses, but if you’re brought up in this community, it’s a natural thing. These people grow up thinking it’s alright to show your colors and do wild and crazy things. And it just so happens that the things they saw were actually made out of recycled materials.”