Size Doesn’t Matter – Man Builds $200 Tiny Eco-Homes from Ordinary Household Junk

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A tiny house doesn’t necessarily have to be shabby. And a stylish one doesn’t really have to cost a lot of money. Proving these points is carpenter Derek Diedricksen, who makes small wooden dwellings out of junk at $200 apiece. They look nothing like junk, though. The decorative detailing in these houses make them pretty interesting places to live in.

The largest structure made by 33-year-old Derek is Gypsy Junker – 24 square feet in size and 5ft 10 inches high. The smallest one is just 4ft tall. But then the interiors of these houses are so pretty that anyone would be interested to spend at least one night in them. Everyday junk is used in the building process, like the glass from the front of a washing machine that becomes a porthole-like window and a sheet of metal is used as a flipdown counter. Castoff storm windows, shipping pallets and discarded cabinets are used as well. Stained glass windows and the likes are used for that decorative touch. Some of the houses built by Derek are also portable, ranging from 4 to 24 square feet in size.

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Man Turns Junk into Life-Size Models of Old Fighter Planes

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Ian Baron, a nuclear plant mechanic from Bowmanville, Canada, has spent the last five years building life-size replicas of old fighter planes from various kinds of junk.

Ian started making his planes five years ago, after visiting the Ford Automotive Museum in Michigan where he saw what can be accomplished by bending metal. He had experience building dune buggies and restoring Model A Fords, and he truly believed he could create a fighter replica with stuff he already had around the house. The few things he didn’t have, like sheet metal from above-ground pools he scavenged from scrapyards and neighbors. He also became a regular at stores like Princess Auto and Home Depot, but all his hard work and expenditures paid off nine months after starting the project, when he finally completed his  1916 Sopwith Carnel, a replica of Snoopy’s plane, the one that shot down the infamous Red Baron. It had bar stools as bulkheads, farm gates as wings and metal pool walls as the skin.

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Self-Taught Artist Turns Beach Trash into Unique Works of Art

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Mark Olivier, a self-taught artist from Berkeley, California, scours the beaches of East Bay looking for washed-up junk, which he then turns into beautiful sculptures.

For seven years, Olivier has gathered all kinds of trash from various East Bay beaches, but instead of throwing it all away, he decided to create one-of-a-kind artworks to display on his lawn. It all began one morning, when he was walking his dog Zsa Zsa at an old coastal landfill known as Albany Bulb. He was looking at all the huge amounts of trash on the beach and asking himself “why doesn’t someone clean this stuff up?’, when it suddenly hit him – why doesn’t he clean it up? he started out small, with just a few cigarette lighters and some pieces of plastic, but before long he had amassed an impressive collection of useless junk.

Although he has no training in art, and has spent most of his life working as a waiter, herbalist and now as a carpenter, Mark Olivier has found ingenious ways of turning detritus into something beautiful that’s stopping passers-by in their tracks. Some of his neighbors agreed to host his creations on their lawns when there was no more space for them on his, and say this work enhances the street. So far, Olivier has used umbrella handles, hats, worn-out shoes, lighters to create samurai, Buddha statues, Greek gods, and a whole lot of other interesting sculptures that have brought him local fame. His latest creation, a 5-foot-high blue poodle made from crabbing rope is the newest attraction on the self-taught artist’s lawn, but anyone can have it for $5,500. He has sold some of his older artworks, including one for $1,500.

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Italian Artist Recycles Found Objects into Colorful Sculptures

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the work of Italian artist Dario Tironi is evident proof. While most people look at discarded objects and see only trash, he sees precious materials for his beautiful sculptures.

Old toys, discarded computer components, broken calculators, even plastic bottles, they’re all part of Tironi’s recycled universe. Similar to Robert Bradford, who uses old toys for his sculptures, and Leo Sewell,  the young Italian artist manages to glue together various junk items and create detailed sculptures of people and animals, and gives everyone who sees his art a whole new perspective on the concept of recycling.

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Jane Perkins Proves One Man’s Junk Is Indeed Another’s Treasure

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British artist Jane Perkins creates beautiful works of art using everyday objects like marbles, toys or buttons picked up from recycling centers, second-hand shops and junkyards.

Jane Perkins worked as a nurse for 17 years, in a London hospital, before she decided to explore her artistic talents and got a degree in textiles in 2006. For her graduation thesis the artist chose a topic that would later be associated with her name  - “Recycled Materials in Art and Design”. She began her successful career by creating stylish brooches mad with discarded jewelry, coins, sea shells and other found junk, but soon moved on to other more complex and impressive works.

Taking inspiration from Ecuadorian artists who take broken pieces of jewelry and implement them in original hair designs, and from the found objects themselves, Perkins creates colorful masterpieces exhibited all around the world. She loves to make art with an element of fun and unexpected and says she will use anything colorful that she can get her hands on. Luckily, Jane doesn’t have to scour second-hand shops and recycling centers as much as she used to, as people in her neighborhood learned about her art and began leaving bags of unwanted stuff on her doorstep.

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The Tech Junk Cities of Franco Recchia

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Italian artist Franco Recchia uses old computer parts to create his unique tech junk cities – mixed media sculptures that replicate famous metropolises.

Driven by a simple curiosity to see what is inside the computer case, Recchia takes apart old computers and uses their parts to create ingenious urban skylines. A “testament to what is beautiful, elegant and functional in the modern object” his tech-junk sculptures are made from various parts like radiators, old motherboards, various slots, and even case parts. These works of art are the artists way of showing that every thing made by the human hand has great beauty, if used in an original-enough way.

You can check out Franco Rocchia’s amazing tech-junk cities on ARTmine, where you can also purchase some of them. They are priced between $2,400 and $8,100, no the cheapest artworks you can find, but definitely among the most original.

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Leo Sewell and His Incredible Junk Sculptures

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Using various junk items he picks up from around his home town, Leo Sewell creates junk masterpieces collected by museums and art enthusiasts around the world.

As a child, Leo Sewell grew up playing with objects he found at the dump near his home. He would take them apart, and his parents would encourage him to put them back together. He followed their advice long after he became a grown-up and he now has 50 years experience in creating beautiful sculptures out of junk.

He spends most of his time scouring the streets of Philadelphia for discarded materials, and brings them all back to his workshop. Right now, there are over 100,000 items in his shop, organized into 2,500 categories, from corn holders to gold-plated shark teeth. No matter how weird or useless an item seems, Leo will find a place for it in one of his beautiful artworks. Both the frame and surface of his sculptures are made of junk objects, assembled with nails, bolts and screws.

Throughout his career, Leo Sewell has created over 4,000 trash sculptures, from life-size models of animals, to a 24-foot-long dinosaur or his amazing 40 foot Torch. His art is displayed worldwide, including in over 40 museums and in both private and public collections.

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Zac Freeman’s Incredible Junk Portraits

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Looked at from up close, Zac Freeman’s artworks look like common piles of junk, but take a few steps back and you’ll discover amazingly detailed portraits.

You know that stuff most of us throw away after a while, things like old buttons, LEGO bricks, keyboard keys? That’s exactly the kind of material Zac Freeman uses to create his unbelievable portraits. He began gathering junk and found objects in 1992, and started gluing them to pieces of wood, creating various portraits.

In the words of the artist:

“I was interested in communicating through visual representation in apparent 2-dimensional space and through the actual objects used for the medium in 3-dimensional space. It is very important to me that I incorporate the actual objects into the art as opposed to a picture or rendition of it because it better expresses the intention of the artwork. I feel the junk is more powerful being present. It is an actual thing to be reckoned with that existed in this time and place and carries energy in and of itself.”

I was thinking about how many artists use junk as an art medium these days, and then it hit me: it might seem like a peculiar thing to use in art, but junk is everywhere around us, and so easy to come by, so it’s no wonder artists use it in their artworks.

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The Junk Portraits of Vik Muniz

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Using domestic and industrial junk, Brazilian artist Vik Muniz is able to recreate anything, from photographs to famous paintings.

Just because the artworks of Vik Muniz is made of junk, doesn’t mean it stinks. he’s actually been living in New York for the last 27 years, and is now recognized as one of the most original artists in the Big Apple. Over the years he has worked with various mediums, from chocolate syrup to caviar and even diamonds, but it seems garbage has become his favorite.

The “Junk Portraits” series of Vik Muniz features reproductions of classic paintings like Saturn devouring one of his children, by Goya, Mars, God of War, by Velasquez, or Sisyphus, by Titian. They have all been recreated from various junk items, on a giant warehouse floor and photographed from an elevated position, to make individual objects hard to distinguish.

Although the actual recreation of his junk portraits from garbage, might seem like the most important part of his job, his work isn’t completed until he takes photos of them.

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