The JenkStars are a group of up-cycle engineers and artists, who pride themselves in their abilities to create just about anything out of junk, hence the name Jenkstars. From compostable toilets to a giant flying saucer sculpture covered in solar panels, these people can build it all.
They work in isolation on the JenkStar Ranch, a few miles north of Green River, Utah. Their vision is to promote sustainable energy, through their festivals and events. They power their entire ranch through sustainable energy, like solar panels. And it all started with this guy.
“My name is Scott Whitaker, but a lot of people call me Scotty Soltronic. I’d go to a music festival, but I didn’t have the opportunity to learn some of the things that I wanted to learn - it was 2-dimensional. You go to the event, you sit in front of the stage, a band plays music at you, you throw your beer cup on the ground and you go home.
"For me, I loved going to these other events like these permaculture, 7-day intensive, and I learned so much, and I wish there were more people, I wish there was more energy. People wake up, do their thing and then everybody goes to bed, and I think man it would be so awesome if there was a band playing right now, can we marry these two, can we make this more interesting,” said Scott Whitaker, the creator of the JenkStars.
And thus Building Man was born. The festival takes place every spring and fall, typically for four days. The festival includes concerts, performances and a variety of workshops, with topics that range from meditation, medicine, construction, CBD, yoga, construction, beekeeping, art activism, tiny homes, solar power, dancing and much more. The festival is in its ninth year running and is attended by several hundred people every year.
“We have a lot of big art installations, outdoor installations," Whitaker said. "We’re seven miles outside of Green River, Utah, on the banks of the Green River in the desert. We have a 40-acre parcel of land that’s called the JenkStar Ranch. It’s a great place to come and express yourself. We call ourselves the JenkStars because we’re kind of janky. All of the stuff that we are using is from reclaimed, recycled, repurposed materials. Every single thing that you see around here - even as we sit and speak right now - I’m sitting in a reclaimed chair that was probably picked up from a curbside pick up, the carpets, the parachutes, the shipping containers, all of the wood, everything that you see around here is stuff that was used.”
“I am an artist, and a builder of community, spaces, hearts," said Carrie Eldridge, member of the Jenkstars. "I love this space specifically because we come together and build something that’s very ephemeral out of nothing. We work together as a team to bring all of our skill sets to the table to create something very beautiful and educational.”