Up cycling your Art
By Russ bertlow
This up coming Friday May 4, is First Friday Art Walk at Crystal Fantasy.
So what is Up cycling, and why is it good for the environment?
Up cycling is recycling taken to the next level. It is finding new purpose for discarded Items.
We through so much away. We waist even more. Our landfills are full of items that will take a lot of those items decades if not centuries to break down if they break down at all. Check these stats below. Styrofoam is the worst. It is the Cockroach of waist. Worse you can kill a Cockroach you can’t kill Styrofoam.
Paper- 2.5 months; Orange Peel- 6 months;
Milk Carton- 5 years; Cigarette Butt- 10-12 years;
Plastic bag- 10-20 years; Disposable diaper- 75 years;
Tin can- 100 years; Beer can- 200-500 years;
Plastic Soda Bottle- 450 Years; Glass Bottle-500
Styrofoam- never (immortal)
We as humans have gotten to a point where wasting things is the norm. Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons every year, to circle the equator 300 times. That’s pretty amazing. We all do it and the wealthier the more inclined we are to waste statistically.
It makes perfect sense the more your resources are limited the more likely you are to use completely what you have as well as recycle the containers they come in. That’s not to say you will but there is a higher likely hood that people who are more limited in their resources will use the resources they have more sparingly and that can translate to less in the landfill.
Up cycled Art as Upscale Items
I like beauty. Thankfully it is all around us. I like to create beauty even more. Granted beauty is in the eye of each beholder there are somethings we can all agree on that are beautiful. Marilyn Monroe, Brad Pitt, Peacocks, Flowers, Rainbows, Sunsets, saving the earth and her resources Just to name a few. This same beauty can be found in creating art with recycled materials. To me there is no greater feeling then bringing new life and beauty from Items that have been tossed or discarded. Using reclaimed materials to create art not only helps to keep it out of our landfills but it also gives one the chance to create a unique work of art.
Whether you paint, sculpt, take pictures or what ever else you do artistically there is always opportunity to use reclaimed material and make it part of your project. In my photography I use reclaimed Wood and reclaimed frames to show case my photography. In my painting I also use reclaimed wood to create my stretchers as well as discarded and left over canvas fabric to create the canvases and that is just the beginning. All of my canvases in the last 12 years have been painted with reclaimed paint or as I call it Mistake paint. Some cans have come from recycling centers others from the big box hardware stores where the color didn’t turn out or some other mistake is made. I like using the latex because it is more water soluble. I just finished some beautiful Pansy flower broaches made from 100% reclaimed, discarded and re-purposed material. The materials I used where discard sheet metal (That I found.) Broken glass and mirror that I have found or re purposed from glass and mirror that ended up broken.
The other morning my partner called me to the TV to see a broach the presidents wife wearing. A broach that looked very similar to the recycled ones that I was making. A little plainer and probably much more expensive material but from the TV you couldn’t tell it just looked very much like the pieces I had created
Anything is Possible when you recycle for art.
Recycled art is all around us. You won’t always recognize it but it is there. From funky chairs to sculpture and picture frames and more. Recently I was in one of our local thrift shops and I saw a very distinctive piece of recycled wearable art. It was a broach fashioned out of an old coco cola cap. It had used the cap as it’s base and by adding rhinestones and a vintage faux gem stone (glass) it made for a beautiful and unique piece.
The creative mind that recycles.
When I see recycled art, I always have this since of awe. For the artist who took Item(s) that have been tossed and had the vision to see the beauty that is there and bring it out for all to see it that is incredible inspiring to me. To use recycled Items to create art gives me a wonderful since of accomplishment. I feel as if I have created a bit of magic from items people had no use for. For me it is like taking the trash and turning it into a garden of wonderful creations.
Places to find recycled materials to create art
For those of us who like to create beautiful art from recycled materials we find many places to haunt for recycled materials. Here are some of types of places you can find material to create. The most immediate place would be your own back yard, your home, apartment. Ask yourself what are you discarding that you could use to created art? A great place to find and reclaim wood is behind furniture stores. From Palletsto 2×4 to 1×2 and other pieces of wood. Not only are Furniture Shop dumpsters good for fining lumber you can find all sorts of bits and pieces for making are. To of the very fist glass piece I created though simple where from a broken glass table top that I found behind a consignment store (which are also great places to find art material. California and Nevada the two pieces below pieces that came from a glass coffee table top that I had found broken on the ground behind my favorite consignment shop. With a little sanding and shaping California and Nevada emerged. Most of the materials for the Hattberry tree also came from the same location. Beautiful material can be found anywhere you look. Garage sales are another place to find material for art at a good price. Whether you are walking down the street, looking in your own back yard or dumpster diving art materials can be found. The Up cycle? You are keeping it out of the landfill and creating new beauty.
Think outside your perceptions.
We are so quick to toss things away. We live in a Wendy McDonald world were every thing is fast and disposable. We discard Items with out a second thought. When we do we are throwing away potential beauty. As an artist you can learn to think outside of your perceptions of what materials can create art and in doing so you show others how to think outside of their own perceptions as to what is beauty. And that is beautiful with in itself.
We live in a world with diminishing resources. Even our renewable resources are diminishing. As artist we have the chance to create beauty using recycled items keeping them from the landfill. As they say Beauty is where you find it.
One persons discard is another persons treasure. What will your next creative treasure be made of?
Some information on Up cycling materials.
you can often find bolts of fabric at thrift shops amazingly cheap. They can be used for all sorts of wonderful creations from Painted Bags to Stretcher canvas. Mistake paint at the Big Box Hardware is cheap. A sample size is 50 cent a quart $2.50 and a gallon $5.00.
Paint can be stored for many years and still be useable.
Shattered Tempered glass can be great for detailed mosaics and it can be found in Dumpster, Wrecking yards and many other places.
You can use reclaimed wood for everything from making furniture, sculpture, picture frames stretchers and more.
There are a great many ways to create artistic beauty from recycled items. Your imagination is your only limit.
Check out some of the recycled art here at this site. You can also check out some of m Recycled Pansy flower incense burners at Crystal Fantasyin Palm Springs Ca.
All material is original and property of Russ Bertlow © all rights reserved. This article (blog entry) may not be reprinted with out the express written permission of Russ Bertlow.