Celebrate Earth Day With 6 Artists Who Use Recycle...

Celebrate Earth Day With 6 Artists Who Use Recycled Materials

Happy Earth Day! Sure, we can all do our part to be green today–hug a tree, plant a tree, turn off the lights when we leave a room–but we’ve found artists who take the three R’s to a whole new level. Here are six artists who are doing their part to save the planet, through their process and their message.

“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” – Pablo Picasso

Wim Delvoye

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“Untitled,” Wim Delvoye. Photo: Wim Delvoye

Are you tyre-d of waste? Puns aside, this Belgian artist’s stunning, handmade pieces use industrial matter to invoke delicate, floral vines. The intricacy of these finished pieces, which resemble wreaths, are enough to drive you crazy.

Tim Nobel and Sue Webster

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“Sunset Over Manhattan,” Tim Noble and Sue Webster. Photo: Tim Noble and Sue Webster

This artist team is known for assembling debris such as empty coke and spray paint cans, then casting light on the mound of trash. The scene of rubble is then distorted, as shadows uncannily resemble everything from city skylines to a reclining couple. All materials are found on the streets of London. Not too shabby!

Kyle Bean

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“What Came First,” Kyle Bean. Photo: Kyle Bean

This Brighton-based artist deconstructs eggshells to create life-size chickens. From beak, to talons, to layers of feathers, the resemblance is uncanny. What Came First? encapsulates the true meaning of recycling: matter is neither created nor destroyed, it’s purpose is simply transferred. Bean demonstrates that there’s no limit to repurposing material, whether it be manmade or organic.

Thomas Dambo

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“Happy City Birds Mural,” Thomas Dambo. Photo: Thomas Dambo

Dambo uses discarded shards of scrap wood to create colorful birdhouse installations. Evidence of his project Happy City Birds can be found in Copenhagen, where sculptures of trees bursting with birdhouses scale the facades of hotels and public libraries. Dambo’s work is both environmentally friendly and in service of the environment, and adds life to otherwise grey city streets.

Sumer Erek

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“The Newspaper House, Dalston,” Sumer Erek. Photo: Fin Fahey

Erek’s Newspaper House transforms old, outdated newspapers into an impressive sculpture. Modeled to look like a simple, cottage-style house, this piece renders the written word concrete. Erek describes the work as a “repository for nationhood, identity and belonging,” as the recorded trials and celebrations of a country are transcribed on paper and then erected into a stable structure symbolizing shelter and safety.

Caroline Saul

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“Small Bulbous Forms,” Caroline Saul. Photo: Noise Festival

Saul plucks plastic and detritus doomed for landfill and reforms it into fragile pieces entitled Bulbous Forms. She describes her work as “the creation of new materials from objects that might otherwise be thrown away.” These vessel like formations resemble barnacles and underwater crustaceans.


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Liz is the author of the unpublished novel "Human Eclipse" (shout out to all the publishers out there) and does event coordinating at The Powerhouse Arena in Dumbo, Brooklyn. You can find her trying to write another novel-child on her cell phone during her lunch break and/or appreciating art.