Ever seen a set of old newspapers reused in our homes for different purposes? Yes, most of us have! The present and the future of the world currently depends upon how much we contribute towards incorporating the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, into our daily lives. With the rising awareness towards the environment, we are all set to witness a renewed energy!
Art, as we all know, has always been the first in acknowledging the changes and working contemporarily in creating incredible artifacts. Great artists are doing great stuff with things that are nothing but just waste for us.
Here’s a list of the top 10 artists producing amazing recycled art:
Born in January 1965 in Belgium, the neo-conceptual artist, Wim Delvoye has carved a place for himself in the world of recycled art. He is best known for creating gorgeous structures with used tires. Keeping the tires in their original shape, Devloye incorporates elements such as flowers and vines from nature into his artwork. An interesting fact about Wim is that he manually carves and sculpts his masterpieces, without using any mechanical devices!
One of his first works, Mosaic at Documenta IX, got him critical attention from people around the world. Currently, Wim lives in Brighton, England.
Based in Brighton England, Ptolemy Elrington is a renowned artist who creates sculptures from waste materials. Being brought by supportive parents, Elrington has always been creative since his childhood. He strongly feels for the environmental damage caused by unsustainable resources. And contributes his part by creating beautiful stuff from garbage!
From shopping trolleys and car wheel trims, to scrap metal, he uses whatever abandoned material he gets his hands on. Using his imagination, Elrington transforms them into an unbelievable sculpture, admired by the world. Ptolemy’s favorite material to work with is hubcaps, as they are easily found on the roadside.
Tim Noble and Sue Webster
Tim Noble and Sue Webster are internationally acclaimed British artists. The duo met at The Nottingham Trent University while studying Fine Arts in the year 1986. They create art from discarded stuff and then project light at a particular angle to create shadows resembling portraits of people or animals.
Best known for their Shadow Sculpture, the couple has received worldwide recognition as well as criticism for it. What actually looks like a garbage heap, becomes meaningful and realistic once the light is projected at it. Some of the world’s incredible museums like Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and The National Portrait Gallery, London are home to their artwork.
Born in 1971 in New York, Derek Gores is a successful recycled artist and illustrator. He went to BFA Rhode Island School of Design in 1993 to start a career in the world of art.
From shredded magazine pieces and maps to other recycled materials like labels, Gores creates detailed masterpieces. First, he organizes the collected scrap according to their color, and then, using his imagination he produces meaningful images. He specializes in making collages of women or just everyday life scenes.
The London-born artist, Robert Bradford is best known for producing larger-than-life sculptures, mostly from children’s forgotten toys or other plastic pieces like buttons or combs. Some of his recycled art is displayed in world-famous galleries and museums.
Robert went to the US to make his career as a filmmaker and an artist. It was in 2004, when Bradford returned to his home country UK, that he decided to specialize in creating sculptures.
Having worked as a mental health worker, he saw the relationship between art and psychotherapy. With the colorful art style, his sculptures awaken the inner child in us and keep us alert.
Leo Sewell, one of the oldest recycled artists on the list, grew up near a dump. For nearly fifty years of his life, he collected junk and learned the art of assembling trash pieces to produce something worthwhile.
Leo uses plastic, wood, or metal to create his sculptures. Further, using nuts and bolts, he applies his assembling technique to make incredible art pieces of the desired size. His art is collected by museums and corporations.
The 47-year-old New York-based Japanese artist, Yuken Teruya, remodels garbage collected from the biggest corporates into mystical forests. He uses Kirigami, an ancient Japanese art form and a variation of Origami, to produce his masterpieces. Here, Teruya not only uses the paper-folding technique but also utilizes paper-cutting methods.
Yuken’s art collection has been collected and displayed worldwide including The Guggenheim, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Flag Art Foundation, New York; the Charles Saatchi Collection, London; Ethnological Museum/Asian Art Museum Berlin, the Mori Art Museum, Japan and 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan.
Born in May 1980 in London, Nick Gentry is a British artist who majorly uses old and obsolete floppy disks to produce art. Being a contemporary environmental artist, Nick expresses himself using cyber products like film negatives, cassettes, and vinyl record sleeves. Highlighting the technology and cyber culture of our society, he mainly creates portraits.
Due to his unique and expressive artifacts, Gentry has been featured on BBC. His masterpieces have been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide.
Michelle Reader, a Nottinghamshire-based artist is best known for her recycled art made from garbage. Since 1997, she has been creating sculptures for individuals and organizations and her work has been displayed at galleries. Moreover, she also works as a freelance artist educator for school children.
Reader incorporates waste material like used toys, city dumps, industrial, and household waste into her artifacts. One of her famous works- a family portrait named Seven Wasted Men, is made from a month’s household waste generated by the family.
Born 1961, in São Paulo, Brazil, Vik Muniz is one of the most international Brazilian artists in the industry. From puzzle pieces and magazines to wires and dust, he uses all the scrap material available to him. He is an important figure in the recycled art world and reproduces art pieces from just garbage. A documentary named Waste Land was created to showcase Vik’s project, which was shot in the world’s biggest wasteland- Jardim Gramacho in Rio de Janeiro.
Muniz mostly produces large in size artifacts. He currently lives and works in New York.