Dec 31, 2009

Recycled Trash Art | recycle art projects | crafts recycled trash

The artists featured here exclusively use recycled and/or trash to make pieces of contemporary art. A closer look at what we throw away. Artists practice the art of “upcycling”, or literally turning everyday trash into creative treasures.

While Andy Warhol may have made the idea popular with his famous Campbell’s soup can exhibit, today’s trash artists bring more of an eco street cred to their art.

Some create compositions from recycled plastic bag or themed works for art galleries, while others create entire theme parks with trash, and even furniture from recycled materials.

There seems to be no end to what kind of art you can create with the most cost-effective medium available; trash. Here are some stunning examples of trash art…

Tim Nobel & Sue Webster

Tim and Sue met while they were studying Fine Arts in University together. Now they are best known for their art made from trash collected from the London streets, which shows an image when light is projected in front of it.

Vik Muniz

The author arranges all of the pieces carefully, photographs the collages, and then destroys them so that they only exist as photographs. Muniz also mixes junk with luxury goods such as caviar in his collages to make a statement about consumerism.

Bernard Pras

Pras creates tributes to celebrity portraits and other works of art through a process called anamorphosis, during which he stacks everyday objects on a photograph to form a collage.

Sarah-Jane van der Westhuizen

The art is created from old car parts, recycled metal pieces, and anything the artist could get her hands on. Van der Westhuizen has installed several of these trash sculptures all over Europe.

David Mach

Hundreds of used coathangers go into the sculpture work of David Mach, who uses other recycled materials to do larger-than-life sculptures. This gorilla is one of his most impressive examples.

Frank Russell

The shark piece below, Captain Crunch, was constructed from hubcaps, food packaging tins, and the leg of a male mannequin. The fins are copper and the teeth are soup cans. It is ten feet long. Russell specializes in these sculptures produced from found objects.

Tim Gaudreau

Gaudreau’s work combines photography, video, new-media, graphics, and sculpture with humor and irony to create collaborations that advocate for a greater awareness of eco-issues and empowerment. Gaudreau photographed everything he threw out every day for a year. The resulting collage was huge and filled a few rooms at the gallery it was exhibited in.

Mario Caicedo Langer

Langer creates sculpture from trash and broken gadgets.

Dave Hind

Dave is a Hamilton, Ontario artist who specializes in reclaimed metal and other found objects in his works. He also produces large-scale sculpture and functional artwork.

Jason Mercier

Mercier specializes in celebrity collages done with the celebrity’s own discarded objects. While Hello Kitty likely didn’t discard any objects, Donald Trump and Mariah Carey probably did.

Tom Deininger

Deininger is widely known as a famous artist who upcycles junk into fine art installations. He is also a highly regarded and collected visual artist.

Michelle Stitzlein

Stitzlein creates art from found materials such as piano keys, broken china, and other recycled items.

Kitty Wales

Wales has been created sculptures, designs, and installations for the last fifteen years that centre on her observations of the animal world. The material that she uses to created her various animal sculptures is salvaged from everyday domestic life.

Mark Langan

Langan creates art from reclaimed cardboard and other materials. Scream was created from corrugated cardboard and other recycled materials. Langan works with non-toxic glue, an exacto knife, and a lot of patience.

Robert Bradford

Bradford, a former psychotherapist, is best known for creating sculptures from toy parts. He screws the toy parts onto a wooden armature to create his 3D sculptures.

Subodh Gupta

Brass pots and eerie skulls from a mashup of metal parts are just part of what this skilled Indian artist has done.

Ha Schult

Schult is known for creating massive installations of people constructed from trash in major locations around the world. Here are just a few of them.

Tyree Guyton

Guyton created the Heidelburg Project as an urban renewal project, transforming a rundown section of Detroit from a place where people were afraid to walk to an art exhibition that people wanted to visit.

Elizabeth Lundberg Morisette

ClementineMom on Flickr, Morisette specializes in making art from items she purchases off of eBay or otherwise found objects.

Charles Kaufman

Kaufman’s crushed can art is done on crushed soda and beer cans.

Chris Jordan

Jordan’s Running the Numbers series aims to display America’s relationship with consumerism. While he doesn’t physically make art from trash, he does showcase the wastefulness of a consumerist society eloquently. The first image, Plastic Bottles, is a shot of 2 million plastic bottles shows how many plastic bottles Americans go through in five minutes. The second, Packing Peanuts is a photograph of 166,000 packing peanuts, or the number of overnight packages shipped by air every hour. The third image, is a recreation of Seurat’s masterpiece, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grand Jatte, done with 106,000 aluminum cans. A closeup of the work is immediately beneath it.

Gugger Petter

This artist creates two and three-dimensional collages from newspaper.

Ptolemy Elrington

While he built his reputation creating creatures from hubcaps, Elrington has since branched out into grocery cart parts and old pots and pans.

Nek Chand

About 40 years ago, Chand cleared some jungle to build a garden in his native India. He put together a few sculptures using found materials and old trash. Now, his “garden” covers 40 acres and includes numerous mosaics and sculptures made from reclaimed materials.

Yong Ho Ji

Yong makes sculptures out of old tires. He sees tires as a symbol of out-of-control consumerism.

Carolien Adriaansche

A Dutch artist, Adriaansche creates colourful pieces that are put together from every day trash such as bottle caps, wire, sticks, and cleaning bottles.

Steven Siegel

Siegel creates large trash forms and places them in the middle of various landscapes. Electronic waste on the Stanford campus and newspapers with headlines about Hurricane Katrina feature prominently in the following installations.

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