This guy is trolling us
July 9, 2024 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Danish artist Thomas Dambo constructs giant trolls out of trash and hides them in the woods to surprise people.

You might meet a lot of trolls around Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, or they may surprise you in other states. “Inside your trash can is the possibility to change the world if you apply some creativity and some love,” Dambo said. “All trash is treasure.” As are these kindly trolls. (WaPo gift link)
posted by zenzenobia (14 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Love love love. I've been aware of him since he recently installed some trolls in the pacific NW, but I was unaware that the trolls were composed of upcycled materials. All the better.

This site has a map of other trolls in the US, though it may be a bit out of date given that it doesn't include the Minnesota site in the post.

I just love their whimsy. I need one in my yard!
posted by hydra77 at 12:31 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]

There isn't a whole troll in Fargo, but one of the Detroit Lakes trolls has a long reach, through a portal into Downtown Fargo!

I have many friends who have devoted trips to see the trolls in DL, but I haven't had enough free time to do so yet.
posted by AzraelBrown at 12:56 PM on July 9 [1 favorite] is the official, always-updated map to the trolls. I rarely let a website know my location, but this is a rare exception.
posted by AzraelBrown at 1:07 PM on July 9 [6 favorites]

When Dambo brought his trolls to the Morton Arboretum outside of Chicago, he put one on top of a hill overlooking I-88. It was pretty cool to drive by and see that dude up there staring back.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:07 PM on July 9 [4 favorites]

We very recently got one in Austin. It's delightful.
posted by mykescipark at 1:15 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]

Paywalled unless you give up your email.
posted by ITravelMontana at 3:00 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]

Dambo + team's work is so delightful to experience in person. We recently visited all the trolls in the Puget Sound, Washington, area and you really can't help but to blurt out "oh, wow!" at the first glimpse of a troll, which might be sitting cross-legged in a forest clearing, sitting on a throne ringed with bird houses, or standing in grove of cedar trees. This making of video goes into the process of piecing together the trolls from reclaimed wood.
posted by prinado at 3:59 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]

Ooooh, there's one near me in Central New Jersey. Thanks for the road trip idea, and the post!
posted by mollweide at 5:57 PM on July 9

Sorry, didn’t realize gift links required an email. This link will work, I hope.
posted by zenzenobia at 7:33 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]

Mod note: We were wandering around in the sidebar and Best of Blog and found a post about this, um, post!
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 6:52 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]

I’ve managed to stumble upon three of the PNW trolls the way they were meant to be seen - walking along a trail, and boom, there’s a troll. Just delightful. I finally went and sought out a fourth one nearby.
posted by umber vowel at 6:57 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]

These seem delightful! When I was a child, there was a pine wood we'd go sometimes, in the summer, where the owner had set up a network of fairy tale scenes and set pieces all chainsaw carved from pine stumps and logs from the forest. If you've even been in a pine plantation you'll know that the tall straight trunks, high canopy, and pine needle carpet feels magical, slightly eerie, even disorienting. We'd run around in what seemed like an endless wood, stumbling over surprises, looking for our old favorites: the mad hatter's tea party, a see-saw, the pirate ship, and gnomes hidden everywhere. These trolls have some of that same magic.
posted by radiogreentea at 10:57 AM on July 11

The trolls at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens are a delight. The gardens are lovely themselves, and the trolls perfectly integrate into their environment.
posted by that's candlepin at 8:12 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]

I live in South Londonderry, Vermont. We had a Dambo sculpture that ended up causing quite the to do in our village and it has been closed for the public to come see.

So a few years back citizens who are part-time homeowners in South Londonderry, which is in the Green mountains, had a sculpture built on their private land.

Their intent was to open this troll to the public.

Things got out of hand quickly.

You had to climb about a mile up a pretty rocky path to get there and it was on a very quiet rural road across the street from a big working farm with
cows. It is a small two lane road where no parking allowed.

The owners opened a free lot for 6 cars.


Originally nobody really knew about troll, but like everything the troll went viral pretty quickly and became very problematic because when there’s nowhere to park and you’ve driven from NY or NJ to see the troll, you’re gonna ignore the no parking signs.

And that is what visitors did. They clogged the roads, leading to several accidents and injuries.

Get the cops on it, right?

We have no police in our little village.

It very much became another us versus them mentality with the troll and local people did not want flatlanders here and things got heated and very ugly very quickly.

After a few weeks of dozens of people parking up and down and closing a working farm road, owners of the sculpture deemed it closed and removed the colored birdhouse markers to denote the entrance.

Although the cars all over the road gave a pretty good indication of the trailhead.

Over time the insanity has died down and while the troll is still there and locals know how to get to it, it has left a really ugly taste in the mouths of people who live in the village.

When this whole business started, I actually reached out to Thomas Damon and asked his thoughts about this and he was very sad that the owners had never considered the parking issues and he just put up the sculpture without understanding that this was going to go viral and it would end up being closed down.

He said it’s given him a lot of lessons about the great questions to ask when someone wants to do a private installation that they say they are going to make public, but I can tell you if you are ever in the South Londonderry Vermont area and you’re feeling desperate for a punch in the nose, ask a local how to get to the troll.

I did see it. It was fucking glorious.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 9:11 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]

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