The concept of "recycling" usually refers to the breaking down of used items into raw materials and then using those materials to make new items. In contrast, the concept of "reuse" includes both using an item again for its original function, as well as for "new-life reuse" where it is used for a brand new function. "ReUsing is similar to Recycling, only we aren't getting rid of things, we are finding new uses for them" explains INSPIRE, administrator of The ReUse Project group on Flickr that serves as an International hub for reuse artists. The following are 7 outstanding examples of creative approaches to the art of junk.
1. Two-and-a-half Dimensional Eggcubism Paintings by Enno de Kroon
Leading both recycling art and cubism into the 21st century Enno de Kroon from The Netherlands uses ordinary egg crates instead of canvas to make spectacular "two-and-a-half" dimensional paintings in a style he defines as Eggcubism. "The waves of the eggcartons limit the viewer's perception" explains de Kroon, making him "aware of his positioning towards the image." Classroom is a mega in-progress Eggcubism painting on which de Kroon has been working over the past 4 months. "I don't know the exact size of painted surface, but it has to be at least in the order of 40-50 square meters" he estimates. Above is a snapshot of the Classroom March 27 stage: Acrylic paint on eggcrates, 217 x 245 x 10 cm.
Lichtekooi (left angle shot): Acrylic on eggcarton, 29,5 x 30,5 cm, 2004. Collection Bouman Foundation,
Schooldays (right angle shot): Acrylic on eggcrates, 2007. Dim. app. 90 x 60 x 10 cm. Collection of the artist. More Eggcubism art here or on de Kroon's official website http://www.ennodekroon.nl
2. Creative Ecodesign by Mario Caicedo Langer
Ecodesign creative expert Mario Caicedo Langer from Bogotá, Colombia makes toys, props and accessories from trash, ordinary day-to-day objects, computer parts and other reused elements. Above: The Attack of the evil Scorpions.
Decorative element for Cyclus Ecodesigns.
MOUSER 2.0 Toy made of plastic pieces.
Desk accessory made of PVC, and other plastic pieces. It has clamps and magnrtic clips. More reused ecodesign by Mario Caicedo Langer here.
3. The Heidelberg Project by Tyree Guyton
Two people have told the tragic story of the Michigan car industry better than everyone else: The second (chronologically) was Michael Moore in his groundbreaking 1989 documentary Roger & Me that illustrated the devastating impact of the closing of several GM auto plants in Flint, Michigan. The first was Tyree Guyton of The Heidelberg Project. Named after the street on which it exists in Detroit, Michigan, The Heidelberg Project was started by Guyton in 1986 and has since become one of the most influential art environments in the world.
Tyree was raised on Heidelberg Street and, at the age of 12, witnessed the tragic effect of the Detroit riots where vivid neighborhoods and live communities became segregated urban ghettos characterized by poverty, abandonment, and despair. With the help of his wife, Karen and his grandfather and mentor Sam ("Grandpa") Mackey, Guyton began cleaning up vacant lots on Heidelberg and Elba Streets. Soon they began using the refuse they collected to transform the street into a massive art environment turning the street, sidewalks and trees into a vast installation.
In 1991 and again in 1999, despite its international recognition as an art installation masterpiece, the city demolished parts of the Heidelberg Project. The rest of it is still there, serving as a source of inspiration for many artists and social activists.
The "Dotty Wotty" House has been in Tyree's family since 1947 and is considered the most famous house in the Heidelberg Project. This is where Tyree was first inspired to paint. The dots represent two things: His Grandfathers love of jellybeans, and the unity of all people.
In Detroit, a huge dot used to be painted onto a building designated for demolition. Tyree has taken the dot and made it his emblem, using it a great deal in his artwork. The above dotted bus, for example, can't run but it's so cool.
This house is located at one of the entrances to the Heidelberg Project. The animals used to be on the inside but are being relocated and glued to the outside. According to Tyree Guyton this is "to protect the house".
The penny car is dotted with a miraculous mosaic of coins. It honors the great motor city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and the entire American car industry "that once stood strong". A bit broken down and beat up, indeed, but still a fine example for this cultcase list.
Vacuum cleaner forest. Just think of all the dust these folks have busted. Don't they deserve a medal? Here is a short video glimpse of the project. For more about the Heidelberg non-profit organization and how it raises funds to keep art education in elementary schools see www.heidelberg.org.
4. Newspapers and Junk Mail Vessel by UrbanWoodsWalker
After spending decades as a "gun for hire" in a variety of positions including illustrator, graphic designer, animator and art educator UrbanWoodsWalker from Chicago, USA has finally turned to creating her own art. Though notably obsessed about detail she challenged herself to "use nothing thought of as having any lasting value". In other words, the art of UrbanWoodsWalker is made out of pure trash: objects found in the woods, garbage dumpsters, sidewalks, and recycling bins are reborn into art.
"MONA", measuring 5.5" wide by 4.25" wide, and 3.5" deep, is made from newspapers and junk mail and belongs to the "Trash Chaos Vessel" series. The vessel cannot be washed or used for food but it has a lot to say about modern society, hyper-media era, over stimulating culture and bombardment of visual noise.
To avoid fading of the inks and dyes on the paper MONA was given several coats of a gloss UV protective sealant. A tiny handmade clay human head is added as a bonus at the bottom of the interior. If you like her you can get MONA for $40.00 at esty.com. More reused art from UrbanWoodsWalker here.
5. Fused Plastic Bags by The Creative JAR
"Take recycled plastic bags and thread - add some scraps inside - fuse them together, sew them up - add a button - what do you get?" The Creative JAR's answer stands for awesomely cool reused fused plastic bag.
Wife, mother, daughter, worker, creator, crafter, artist and designer: this dame from Nashville, Tn, USA must be as hyperactive and busy as she is talented.
6. Junk Art by Steve Oatway
Australian junk artist, painter and art-director Steve Oatway helps to make the world cleaner and more beautiful through Junk Art – a formation of sculptures from found objects or junk found in the "most remote" Australian locations. "By the time I was 15 I learnt to fight and fight I have" writes Oatway on his site, explaining his major motives: "through alcoholism, asthma and a disabled son, who is my shining light for without him I have no heart".
Above: Knight’s Tale - metal horse sculpture, H190 x W240 x D160 cm, built from car chassis and abandoned junk which was harvested from the discarded junk piles found on farming properties. Below: Harley sculpture and horse.
More Oatway's Junk Art here.
7. Tin Can Dolls and Party Dress by Janet Cooper
In the 1980s Janet Cooper turned rusty bottle cap collection into a jewelry business and sold jewelry to stores, galleries and museum shops in the USA, Europe and Asia and sold it four years ago. Today, Massachusetts artist and curator Janet Cooper reuses vintage bottle caps and tin cans, tobacco tags and other memorabilia items as art and craft. Her work has been showcased in many folk art and contemporary craft museums.
Above: Tin can works: Made from Vintage Tin Cans. Below: Assemblage party dress made with materials from Cooper's travel. Fabric, Paper Images and Decorations. More reused art from Janet Cooper here.
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