About Recycled Art

“Waste Not” My first embedded CD painting:




Yet another medium is paper, that is, is gift wrap and tissue paper. I have gotten countless gifts wrapped in beautiful paper that I could not bear to throw out. But how much used gift wrap can one save, and for how long? I finally started to make collages from these lovely things and again found this to be a wonderfully fulfilling endeavor. Look closely and sometimes you can see a designer name or logo peeking out at you! Here is one that I made using discarded gift wrap that I found on the street, called “Watersprite”:

Why use recycled media? Well, besides trying to be ecologically conscientious, I don’t like to throw things out that might be useful later. This has led to quite a collection of disparate things–from cardboard packing sheets to salvaged plastic clips from handbags. (You never know when you will need one of these things.) When my partner started burning CDs and DVDs to put in the books he was writing and publishing I started to find a huge number of discarded discs in the trash. I could not bear to throw these things out; they were modular and non-biodegradeable, and so I incorporated quite a few into my paintings. “Waste Not”  is one of the first.

Another non-biodegradeable that finds its way regularly into my household are the styrofoam “boats” that meat and vegetables are packaged in, in supermarkets. There are only a handful of places in the USA that will recycle these, and only in bulk. This is a medium that I have chosen to work with for the past few years, and it is more liberating than I ever thought it would be.

I paint the boats with acrylic paint, then cut them with a razor blade in random shapes, and glue them onto stretched canvas. Since I only acquire the styrofoam trays when I purchase the food they contain, you might say that every mosaic represents a meal — or many meals — eaten!

There are two basic directions that my work has taken, using this process; spontaneous improvisation (“Improvisation 2,” left) and composed (“Causeway,” below).

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