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Costas Schuler is known as the Pen Guy all over town. He hopes to redirect the flow of millions of used pens that end up in landfills every year into a reusable art medium. The people at his day job as a graphic/web designer are down with the whole pen thing, and he’s well-known in the Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and Forestville areas of California. Now it’s time to have a chat with him and find out what makes him…click.
For Costas, recycling is all about reuse. “I have to say, I don’t recycle per se (got busted for saying that once), I reuse. Recycling means that raw material doesn’t have to fill a dump and can be used one more time. Reuse is interesting because you don’t need as much energy to break something down and it can be made into something interesting and beautiful which is what I would like to do.”
The Mercedes Pens Art Car
An avid journaler, Costas turned his penchant for collecting writing instruments into one heck of a car. He was inspired to start gluing pens to his 1981 Mercedes Benz, which now has approximately 10,000 pens on it. The car is referred to as the “Mercedes Pens” and is a regular feature at community events around the San Francisco Bay Area.
There’s a greater ballpoint to all of this: He visits many northern California schools and organizations, speaking with people to drum up enthusiasm about his project. In his quirky and distinctive way, Costas leads others to explore their creative side. Costas is now embarking on a more ambitious mission to collect and reuse a million pens, making neat stuff like “Pen-tings” and pen sculptures. The plan: Partner with individuals, businesses, organizations and schools to establish regular collection sites, or to help by hosting a donation drive.
Inquiring minds want to know- Does he have a favorite brand of pen? Maybe one that’s easiest to glue to a Mercedes? “My favorite pen is the one that works. I love the Pilot g-2 7 Gel Pen for writing in my journal. Most pens stick to the car except for a brand of felt tips I don’t know the name offhand.”
Besides working on pen art, Costas has other decorating plans in the works. “I want to decorate all kinds of things especially furniture and home accessories living room stuff.”
Future Projects: DePENdent on You
Costas provides an address on his blog for sending in used pens, and will accept all types of pen donations. He stores and organizes the pens that people send him in a giant Rubber Maid Slide-Lid storage container. He’s already received over 35,000 pens and is visualizing Pentopia, a magical world of pens, and works on the Million Pen Project.