Sep 27, 2011

TREND | Up-Cycled Art

Collage art by Sandhi Schimmel Gold made from junk mail.

    People today are becoming more aware of how important it is to GO GREEN!!!! From recycling, energy light bulbs, and, to bringing your own grocery bags to the store. It seems like everyone around the world is jumping on the band wagon when it comes to saving our planet, including our fellow artist. Many artist today are taking trash and turning it into art this is something we like to call up-cycling. Up-cycled Art is a rapidly growing trend that more and more people are taking notice too. It allows artist to express themselves in a new way while delivering a strong message to the viewer and it is also cost effective for the artist. Up-cycling allows the artist to create something worth more than its previous worth.

    Andy Gregg is an artist who creates functional objects such as chairs and tables out of used bike parts. He not only turns used pieces of bike scraps into sometime people will enjoy using but he creates a piece of artwork. Gregg’s work is very elaborate and striking. The viewer is not only pulled into looking at the piece as a whole but is also drawn into viewing each bike part in its creative placement of Gregg’s design. Just by looking at Gregg’s chairs and tables the viewer automatically wants to touch and use them. The design of Gregg’s artwork is so compelling his use of shape and bike materials really creates contemporary, abstract works of art.   
Deluxe Side Table, Andy Gregg
Milano Lounge Chair, Andy Gregg

Gary Harvey's -gown from Blue Jeans
       Also like Gregg’s up-cycled functional artwork Gary Harvey takes a somewhat similar take on up-cycled art, this time with fashion. Harvey creates elaborate gowns out of newspaper, old jeans, trench coats,laundry bags and so much more. Harvey’s jaw dropping, high in dresses are so intricate and well thought out. He really shows how something old can become something better and new with his unique, fashionable gowns. He takes high in fashion to the next level with his up-cycled dresses. You could say Harvey made trash classy. 
Gary Harvey's- gown from newspaper
Dark Stuff 2008 Tim Noble and Susan Webster
Lets take a totally different route and talk about two artist Tim Noble and Susan Webster. Noble and Webster’s style of art is very different from Gregg’s and Harvey’s. In their fourteen years of work they have produced a ton. A loud voice about what they are trying to convey usually comes out in most of their artwork. One thing Noble and Webster do, is produce sculptures made out of various objects and then cast a light onto the sculpture creating a shadow on the wall. The shadows they create with their sculptures are usually animals or people . On of their pieces titled Dark Stuff, 2008 is made from 189 mummified animals and projects two human heads on a stick. Dark Stuff  is a disgusting but yet intriguing. The assembly of all the bones is so busy its hard to believe it produces such a clean, detailed shadow onto the wall. Its also kinda humorous because humans go around killing animals and here we have two human heads on a stick made from the bones of those dead animals. This piece screams “what if it was  your head on the line.” Would we really kill all these animals if they could fight back or had a voice.  

Another sculpture of theirs 
He/She, 2004 made from welded scrap metal is very much unbelievable as well. Its mind blowing to begin to think about how these artist are able to render their work. The two sculptures that they produce both male and female peeing draw a lot of questions such as “Why are they peeing?” Well observing the art and then looking at the title, the viewer can say it shows the differences of male and female. Female squatting to pee and male standing to pee are very funny, but at the same time personal. Going to the restroom is something people consider a private matter. For instance you don't see people peeing in public because then we would have pee everywhere and it would be considered normal to pee on the street. Since its an unnatural sight to see but at the same time a natural part of life that everyone pees, it  gives the feeling of humor but yet awkwardness at the same time. The most amazing thing is how all these sculptures are so abstract,but yet produce a perfect silhouette, almost as if those people were in the room.  
He/She 2004,Tim Noble and Susan Webster 

Trash People -first installation in 1996, HA Schult
     The last artist I would like to share with you are HA Schult and his Trash PeopleIn 1996 Schult installed one thousand sculptures of life size human beings he made out of trash in the Amphitheater of Xanten. His idea was to send them around the world and put them into historical places where they could draw attention and deliver Schult’s message. Which is exactly what this collection has been doing. Schult’s message that we as humans are messy and litter. We produce so much waste for our world that we are consumed by trash. The latest installation is Arktis, Longyearbyen. Marz 2011  Schults really knows how to deliver. His collection speaks volumes and is over powering. There is no doubt Schults inspires people to be more clean and to think twice before they litter. He conveys that we as humans are trash because we produce so much of it, we live in it, and we don’t care to take care of our planet. Schults use of size of sculpture and quantity really works towards his statement. If he had just created one person out of trash it wouldn’t be as moving. 

Trash People most Recent installation 2011, HA Schult
      Although these artists works are very much unique, all four artist have done exactly what up-cycling is called for. They have all taken something worth nothing and made it  something. Up-cycling is a fun way for any kind of artist to express themselves from functional artwork, to abstract art, from sculptures, to drawings. Up-cycled Art takes “dumpster diving” to a whole new level. It also brings the saying “another man’s trash is another man’s treasure” to life. I know this is only a taste of up-cycled art, but hopefully ya’ll are inspired to dig deeper or maybe even inspire you to create your own up-cycled piece. I would like to leave you all with something to think about. Are the watercolored paintings by the Chapman brothers we disgust in class, considered to be up-cycled pieces?
Chapman Brothers one of thirteen watercolored Hitler paintings

-Anastacia Sandoval

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