Art can be made from virtually anything, and as modern-day artists strive to produce something new and different, their attentions are turning to all manner of materials that they can use. And there is a new fad to focus on ocean trash to give inspiration. The current story of what mankind is doing to its oceans is not a pretty tale, and instead of just driftwood being washed up on our beaches there is a plethora of plastic and dead marine life. So artists have decided to use various beach junk not just to make art but also to bring focus on the dangers to the environment. We focus on some of the current artists plying their trade from beach junk.
Mandy Barker – Soup 500+
Mandy Barker is one of the very best of the new wave artists that bring together beach trash and make high quality art from it. Soup 500+ is one of her most popular works, it is a collection of over five hundred bits of discarded plastic that were found in a dead albatross chick’s digestive tract. The materials and story just want to make you gag, and the realization that mankind is responsible brings feelings of anger and embarrassment. What is amazing is that the artist has managed to create something beautiful with such excellent form.
Chris Jordan is a remarkable photographer who pulls no punches in his expressive work. His work on Midway Atoll is extremely somber, and focuses on many rotting carcasses of baby albatrosses. The atoll is situated two thousand miles from any continent and is just about as remote as you can get. So it is striking that even here man’s destructive behavior can be seen at it very worst. There are thousands of dead baby albatrosses that whilst nesting had been fed discarded plastic as food by their confused parents. As their small dead bodies rot the plastic becomes visible and takes the part of missing flesh and feathers. Disturbing viewing but challenging and important.
Aurora Robinson – Kamilo
Aurora Robinson is your original beachcomber and is drawn to plastic debris that has been washed up on the shores of beaches in Hawaii. Her piece Kamilo is a suspended sculpture consisting of one hundred percent plastic marine debris. At first you are drawn to how beautiful the piece is as it replicates a crustacean with yellow head and blue tail. But then you become acutely aware the colors are formed by pieces of plastic from every imaginable product. Rather than continually cleaning our beaches up, scientists and artists such as Robinson dictate that the real cure lies in stopping the plastic at source. These artists who all produce beautiful art from beach trash do not do so for their love of the materials. Far from it, they want to bring world’s attention to what we as a society are doing to our environment and the severe and sometime irreparable damage we are causing. It is estimated by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans of the word than marine life!