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Stories From Main Street: Turning Sandy Debris Into Works Of Art

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - A man on the Jersey Shore is turning superstorm Sandy's devastation into artwork, with some of the proceeds going to the storm relief effort.

As WCBS 880's Sean Adams reported, the pieces of art are made up of pieces of people's lives swept up in the Oct. 2012 storm.

"There's metal washers, there's sea glass, bits of plastic," Toms River artist Gregg Hinlicky told Adams. "There's a lot of driftwood because that was the main thing that you saw was enormous piles of driftwood."

Stories From Main Street: Turning Sandy Debris Into Works Of Art

Hinlicky said his project started when he helped clear debris from his sister's driveway in Ocean Beach.

"Originally, I picked up four giant Hefty bags full of things just in her driveway," said Hinlicky.

WEB EXTRA: Visit Hinlicky's Website

He said he also collected debris from Seaside Park all the way north to Spring Lake.

Hinlicky put his artistic eye to work and started assembling the shattered bric-a-brac.

"Trivial Pursuit cards were everywhere, a lot of people play Trivial Pursuit. Food items, forks, dolls, I found a wolverine doll or head, American flags, I think three or four of them have American flags in them," he told Adams.

All of the debris Hinlicky collected resulted in 28 abstract collages.

"When you see something, like you see a little piece of a toy or you see a kitchen item or something like that, you can feel the person using it. You can feel that it had a life attached to it so you just, that's why it was so emotional. It's like every single thing that I included in these works, it's little bits of people's lives," said Hinlicky. "It was tragic. It was a very emotional process from collecting to assembling and it's very touching when you see all of people's lives spread around like that."

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In art galleries, some people have been offended by these pieces. Hinlicky donates a portion of the proceeds to Sandy relief.

Stories from Main Street
Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

Hinlicky said he wants his work to be viewed as healing.

"Taking the shattered memories of people and turning them into something creative and artistic and something that could almost be a memorial to the storm," he told Adams.

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