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A sculpture of a bird made from plastic and other recycled material



They say one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. It would seem art is no exception. In a world of recycling, it should come as no surprise that many contemporary artists are deciding to create something new from something used. Here are four examples of recycled art and the messages behind them.

Peace Angels

Peace Angels were born from the mind of Lin Evola during the gun violence occurring in her hometown of Los Angeles in the ‘90s. Receiving weapons from communities through legitimate law enforcement channels, Evola and a group of highly skilled artists do their part to reduce illicit weapons on the streets by melting them down and creating Peace Angels. 

Shadow Art

To see a sculpture created by Tim Noble and Sue Webster is impressive enough. Made from small bits of discarded timber, plastic, and metal, their art tends to look like a pile of artfully thrown together material made in the rough image of a person or other recognizable shape, until they place a light at just the right angle. The sculpture casts a flawless shadow of the rough approximation created by the sculpture. A beautiful piece of art and a message about perception.

Floppy Art

This is a piece of art with a generational context. Nick Gentry is a London-based artist known for recycling used floppy disks (Google it) to use as the canvas for eye-popping futuristic portraits. Gentry says his work is influenced by the development of technology, consumerism, and cyber culture. Gentry also uses discarded film rolls, VHS tapes, and X-rays in his art.

Plastic Ocean

As heartbreaking as it is breathtaking, Plastic Ocean was created by artist and Illustrator Tan Zi Xi as part of the Singapore Art Museum 2016 Imaginarium: Under the Water, Over the Sea exhibit. For her addition to the exhibit, Tan Zi Xi re-created the physical manifestation of the Pacific Garbage Patch – a floating mass of man-made garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean spanning over 1.6 million square kilometers (larger than the state of Texas) and weighing between 1.15 and 2.41 million metric tons. The artist puts the viewer into the point of view of marine life by completely immersing them in a world composed of over 26,000 pieces of discarded plastic.

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