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Art Design Photography Science

Artful Swirls of Plastic Marine Debris Documented in Images by Photographer Mandy Barker

April 19, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

SOUP – Refused © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; plastic oceanic debris affected by chewing and attempted ingestion by animals. Includes a toothpaste tube. Additives; teeth from goats.

Photographer Mandy Barker creates deceptively eye-catching images to document the pandemic of plastic debris in the world’s waterways. Barker, who is based in Leeds, UK, works closely with scientists to collect trash from our oceans and beaches on the edges of nearly every continent. One research expedition covered the debris field (stretching to Hawaii) that resulted from Japan’s 2011 tsunami and earthquake; she has also explored the Inner Hebrides in Scotland with Greenpeace.

Barker manipulates her findings in Photoshop, mimicking the manner in which ocean water holds these objects in suspension. Swirls of colors and patterns draw in the viewer’s eye, only to realize that these visually appealing compositions consist of garbage that animals have attempted to chew, plastic pellets, tangles of fishing line, and water-logged soccer balls. The artist describes her work in a statement on her website:

The aim of my work is to engage with and stimulate an emotional response in the viewer by combining a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction along with the subsequent message of awareness. The research process is a vital part of my development as the images I make are based on scientific fact which is essential to the integrity of my work.

Barker is currently a recipient of a 2018 National Geographic Society grant. Her work is on display through April 22nd at Mexico City’s Museum of Modern Art, at Photo London Art Fair in May 2018, at the Triennial of Photography in Hamburg in June, 2018, and at BredaPhoto in The Netherlands in September 2018. The artist’s book, Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals, was named one of the ten best books of 2017 by Smithsonian. You can see more of Barker’s photographs on her website as well as on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

EVERY… snowflake is different (detail) © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; white marine plastic debris objects collected in two single visits to a nature reserve on the East Coast of England.

EVERY… snowflake is different © Mandy Barker. Ingredients: white marine plastic debris objects collected in two single visits to a nature reserve on the East Coast of England.

Hong Kong Soup:1826 – Lighter © Mandy Barker. Discarded cigarette lighters make reference to our single-use throw away society. The panda, a national emblem of China represents endangered species and faces away from the group symbolizing mother nature turning its back on man’s inability to take ownership of its waste.

Hong Kong Soup:1826 – Spilt © Mandy Barker. 150 tonnes of pre-production plastic pellets (nurdles) spilt from a cargo container during Typhoon Vincente on 23rd July 2012 adds to Hong Kong’s waste issues in its seas and on its beaches.

PENALTY – Europe © Mandy Barker. 633 marine plastic debris footballs (and pieces of) recovered from 23 countries and islands within Europe, from 104 different beaches, and by 62 members of the public, in just 4 months.

PENALTY – The World © Mandy Barker. 769 marine plastic debris footballs (and pieces of) collected from 41 countries and islands around the world, from 144 different beaches and by 89 members of the public in just 4 months.

PENALTY – 24 Footballs © Mandy Barker.

SHOAL – 30.41N, 157.51E © Mandy Barker.Included in trawl: child’s ball and Japanese character – fridge magnet found on the tsunami shoreline. Fishing buoy found in trawl sample, North pacific Ocean

SHOAL 33.15N, 151.15E © Mandy Barker. Included in trawl: tatami mat from the floor of a Japanese home, fishing related plastics, buoys, nylon rope, buckets, fish trays, polystyrene floats, shampoo bottle, caps, balloon & holder, petrol container.

SOUP – Alphabet © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; plastic debris that includes surface text. Ironic random arrangement of 4 pieces of plastic that suggest a warning; ‘Sea’ ‘AND’ ‘HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES’ ‘FOUL’

SOUP: Bird’s Nest © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; discarded fishing line that has formed nest-like balls due to tidal and oceanic movement. Additives; other debris collected in its path.

SOUP – Ruinous Remembrance © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; plastic flowers, leaves, stems, and fishing line. Additives; bones, skulls, feathers, and fish.

SOUP: Turtle © Mandy Barker.

WHERE © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; marine debris balloons collected from around the world.

WHERE (detail) © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; marine debris balloons collected from around the world.

 

 



Art Craft

Discarded Objects are Beautified with Colorful Coral-Like Growths by Stephanie Kilgast

April 11, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Stephanie Kilgast takes discarded objects like tin cans, jam jars, and old cameras and embellishes them with vibrant amalgamations of coral-like growths. The artist honed her detail-oriented skills by making hyperrealistic miniature food, and she continues to use polymer clay and hand tools to craft her artworks. Mushrooms, crystals, beetles, and abstract forms sprout from the everyday objects that Kilgast sources from thrift stores and trash cans.

In an artist statement on her website, she describes her work as “an ode to life, where plants and fungi meet insects, animals and minerals. These encounters are growing in a colorful swirl of diversity, and the erratic growth develops on found objects, in a dialogue between humanity and nature.”

Kilgast, who is based in France, often documents her creative process in videos on InstagramYouTube, and Facebook. In addition to sharing her work with her large online audience, the artist exhibits widely, and was most recently a part of the themed group show “Monochrome” at Art Number 23 in London.

 

 

 

 



Art

Bordalo II Opens the Doors to ‘Attero,’ a Giant Exhibition of Animal Assemblages Built with Trash

November 17, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Within the confines of an abandoned warehouse in Lisbon, artist Bordalo II just opened the doors to his largest body of work to date, dozens of animalistic assemblages comprised of his trademark medium: trash. Using locally-sourced waste plastics, car parts, construction materials, and other found detritus, Bordalo has become famous for his uncanny depictions of animals—those most vulnerable to the side effects of our disposable economy. While scale often plays a large role in his outdoor wall-mounted street pieces, the artist also created considerably smaller assemblages attached to old doors, siding, and windowpanes.

“Whether on a large or small scale, his unusual sculptural creations oblige us to question and rethink our own role as actors in this static, consumerist and self-destructive society, which exploits, often in an abusive way, the resources that nature offers us,” shares Attero curator Lara Seixo Rodrigues.

With well over 8,000 visitors in its first week, Attero (Latin for waste) opened on November 4, 2017 and runs through November 26. You can see many more photos on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 



Art

Chandeliers Constructed From Recycled Plastic PET Bottles by Veronika Richterová

October 30, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Czech artist Veronika Richterová (previously) uses the near indestructible nature of plastic PET bottles to her advantage. By snipping, twisting, and heating the drinking vessels, she forms long-lasting sculptures that visually mirror the qualities of glass. This similarity inspired her series of PET luminaries, a project composed of fully functioning light systems in the form of chandeliers and lamps.

The included works are decorated with tulip-shaped light bulb covers, scalloped edges, and long, twisted segments of recycled bottles that imitate electrical cords. In order to protect these heat-sensitive sculptures, Richterová installs her works with bulbs and cables that produce minimal heat.

A few of Richterová’s plastic chandeliers are currently included in the 50-artist exhibition Eden Unearthed at Sydney’s Eden Gardens through February 2018. You can see more recycled works in the form of cacti, animals, and more on the artist’s website. (via Lustik)

 

 



Art

New Split-View Trash Sculptures by Bordalo II Combine Wood and Colorful Plastics Into Gigantic Animals

July 21, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Bordalo II (previously) has created a series of bisected animals, colorful plastics forming one half of the creature while a combination of wood and metal created a muted mirror on the other side. In one piece the Portuguese artist created a turtle with legs that extend to the ground, appearing to crawl along the side of a a low wall in Moncton, Canada. Other works are more monumental, such as a rabbit that extends two stories in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal, and a raccoon that seems to dangle head first from a building in Pittsburgh.

The globally-placed installations are the newest evolution of his series Trash Animals, large public works that address the impact our carelessly tossed waste has on the environment around us. You can observe his process for collecting plastic and other waste, as well as follow more of his recent work, on Instagram.

 

 



Art

New Sculptural Eyewear Produced From Salvaged Street Metal and Found Objects by Cyrus Kabiru

March 24, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Kwa Kubadilishana Utamaduni, Macho Nne: At the Dot, 2017. 59 1/10 × 47 1/5 in

Self-taught Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru (previously) fashions extravagant eyewear from pieces of found metal and other salvaged materials on the streets of his hometown of Nairobi. Kabiru has been building his futuristic glasses since childhood, and dedicates much of his time to producing works for his C-Stunner series of eyeglasses and coordinating photographs. Recently Kabiru has begun to expand his work to include large non-body-based sculptures, installations, and collage.

Kabiru’s practice is deeply tied to Afrofuturism, a genre that combines science fiction, magical realism, and historical fiction with the culture and politics of the African diaspora. His work was featured in the newly released Gestalten publication Africa Rising: Fashion, Design and Lifestyle from Africa. You can see more of his eyewear and larger sculptures on Artsy and SMAC.

Kubwa Macho Nne – American Darts, 2015.

Kubwa Macho Nne – Tom and Jerry (2015)

Mali Ya Mfalme, Macho Nne | Nubia Kale (Ancient Nubia), 2016

Njia Ya Maisha Macho Nne Throwback, 2015

Njia Ya Maisha, Macho Nne Egyptian Peacock, 2015

Kwa Kubadilishana Utamaduni, Macho Nne: Catalan Sun, 2017

 

 



Art

New Animalistic Trash Sculptures by Bordalo II Spring Up Around the Globe

September 26, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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Instead of contemplating a series of sketches or attempting to envision how an artwork will come together, Portuguese artist Bordalo II (previously here and here) begins each of his animal sculptures in a grimy hunt for raw materials in junk yards or abandoned factories. Car bumpers, tires, door panels, mountains of malleable plastic bumpers, and even entire vehicles are stacked and bolted to the sides of buildings to resemble everything from pelicans to foxes and tiny rodents. The pieces grow on-site, taking form as he interprets the available materials. As a final detail each animal is finished with a flourish of spray paint that bestows a near lifelike quality.

Through his art, Bordalo II hopes to draw attention to our culture’s uncontrollable production of waste. “The idea is to depict nature itself, in this case animals, out of materials that are responsible for [their] destruction,” he shares with Colossal. In this way he hopes to make environmental destruction more visible. “Sometimes people don’t recognize that their simple routines are too much, we are using too many resources too fast and turning them into trash, waste, and pollution.”

Bordalo II was one of many artists recently involved with the Unexpected art project curated by JustKids in Ft. Smith, Arkansas where he created a new fox and opossum. He also constructed a flying squirrel at Street Art Jam 2016 in Estonia, and several pieces for the Aruba Art Fair. You can follow his recent work on Instagram.

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