The Landfillart Project – Turning Hubcaps into Works of Art

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The Landfillart Project is an artistic endeavor that tries to get people thinking about the amount of trash they generate, by repurposing hubcaps as unique artworks.

The idea was thought up by Ken Marquis, from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, who has spent the last three years convincing other artists from all the US states and 52 foreign countries to give old hubcaps the artistic treatment. Ken got the idea to use hubcaps while attending an auto show near Allentown, where a collection of 41 rusted wheel covers inspired and got him thinking they could be repurposed. He bought the entire cache for $82, and just a few weeks later acquired 1,000 more, from a collector in Quakertown.

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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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Designer Creates Fashion Items from Used Tea Bags

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Grace Robinson, 52, from Cambridgeshire, England, takes used tea bags and sews them into fashionable dresses, shoes and accessories.

Grace has been drinking tea for most of her life and she’s been recycling used tea bags for over 10 years now. The process is quite simple: she drinks tea every day, saves the tea bags and lets them dry naturally with the tea leaves inside. Once they’ve dried, the designer empties them and sews them into whatever clothing item she likes. The color of this unusual fabric varies depending on how long she lets the tea brew.

For many years, Grace Robinson only used the tea bags from the tea she drank herself, but now some of her friends save their tea bags for her, which the designer says is wonderful because she can work a lot faster. A dress can take several months to finish, so she needs all the help she can get.

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Conceptual Artist Makes Eau de Toilette from Her Urine

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For the last five years, conceptual artist Cherry Tree has been experimenting with turning her urine into perfume. Her fragrances aren’t on the market yet, but if someone could sell perfume made from poop, why wouldn’t urine be a success, as well?

Cherry Tree, born Charity Blansit, says she’s very passionate about recycling, and since urine is something that gets eliminated, she thought it should be recycled. The idea for a urine-based perfume came to her the morning after a full moon, when she decided to collect her urine in a perfume bottle. At first, the full extent of her project was to collect urine after each full moon. She was fascinated about how the smell of it changed depending on what she ate. For example, she says urine smells very good when you eat honey, and terrible if you’ve had chicken.

The artist took her project to the next level when she decided to ad a little sugar to her urine and turn it into “a real eau de toilette”. Her brother, Jim Blansit, runs a distillery, so after learning how he made vodka and whiskey, he applied the techniques to her urine concoction. Although it had a nice chocolaty smell, probably because she was drinking a lot of coffee at the time, Cherry Tree had to throw away her first batch  because she didn’t add enough sugar for it to ferment.

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Sandy Sanderson’s Beer Can Automobiles

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Sandy Sanderson is a resourceful New Zealand artist who uses empty soda and beer cans to create detailed models of famous automobiles.

England-born Sandy was trained as a draughtsman, but later became a Technology teacher and emigrated to far away New Zealand. Here he pursued his interest in building airplane, car and bike models, until the age of 40, when he joined a local band and started playing bass guitar. This made him change from building models to making electric string instruments.

Unfortunately, a bike accident shattered one of his wrists and his dream of retiring as a luthier. After surgery, he was still able to use his hand, ride a bike, but the sensitivity and fine control needed to play bass and follow his dream were gone. But it was during his recovery period that he discovered a new hobby – looking at some Coruba and Coke cans he remembered seeing some beautiful aircraft models made from aluminum cans, only they had the plain silvery side on the outside. This didn’t make any sense to him, as the whole point of using such a resource would be to show it to the world and celebrate it instead of hiding it.

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Designer Turns Garbage into Green Couture Garments

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Designer Nancy Judd uses recycled trash to create various clothing items for her Recycle Runway collection, which she showcases in airports, class rooms and other media outlets around America.

“I love taking garbage—something that people want to push away from and not think about—and transform it into something elegant,” Nancy Judd recently told CNN. She started the environmental education entity known as Recycle Runway in 2007, and began creating beautiful fashion garments from recycled stuff, thus capturing the attention of millions of people. Each of her works is a unique piece of wearable art that takes between 100 to 450 hours to complete, but lasts at least 100 years and inspires the public to reduce their impact on the environment.

Ms. Judd grew up in Portland, Oregon, and although she’s been sewing and designing clothes and jewelry ever since she was a child, she doesn’t feel attracted to the fashion industry, as “it creates a tremendous amount of waste, and there are a lot of social justice issues.” In fact, she turned down a spot on Project Runway because she is perfectly happy with her own project, Recycle Runway. Nancy has worked in the recycling field for a long time, but it was fashion that helped her attract attention and deliver important environmental messages to the world.

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Polish Woodcarver Makes Functional Bicycles Exclusively from Wood

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Slawomir Weremkowicz, a 59-year-old former plumber from Poland, creates functional bicycles using only wooden components.

The talented woodcarver from Biala Podlaska says he had always wanted to be an artist, and since God gave him the talent of carving wood, he he thought he should do something amazing with it. So he decided to go greener than green and create a series of wooden bikes for which he didn’t use a single gram of metal or plastic. Simply looking at a piece of wood, Slawomir can already envision how he’s going to turn it into one of his bicycle parts, and using simple woodcarving tools like chisels and saws he does just that.

The seat, steering, even the pedals and chain are made only from a variety of wood (oak, ash, beech and plywood) and if you’re looking for screws holding them together, don’t bother, as Slawomir Weremkowicz only uses wooden pegs. Carving an entire wood bicycle is a lengthy process which takes about a year, but when he looks at his completed “wooden dinosaurs”, as he likes to call them”, Slawomir doesn’t regret the time he puts into his work.

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Designer Makes Furniture from Discarded Electronics

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Benjamin Rollins Caldwell of BRC Design recycles old computer components by using them to create original pieces of furniture.

Discarded electronics are a major problem for the environment, and there’s no better example than China’s Guiyu electronics waste site, but some people come up with original ideas that make recycling them look easy and cool. Take Benjamin Rollins Caldwell, who’s Binary Collection features pieces of furniture any computer geek would love to have in their home.

For the Binary Low Table, the designer used bent computer tower cases as a basic frame, and proceeded to add various computer parts like motherboards, computer chips, LED displays and hard-drives, until the structure was completely covered. Even the glass panels were salvaged from an old warehouse. For the Binary Chair 01 and Binary Chair 02, Caldwell used a frame made of an old industrial printer, covered with a collage of electronics. Apart from being completely functional and visually appealing, the Binary Chairs also have an interactive quality, as the various buttons and keys can be pressed, the hard-disks can be spun and the antennae raised.

So why dump a bunch of toxic electronics in a landfill when you can create something as beautiful as BRC’s Binary Collection?

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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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Artist Creates Dog Portraits from Recycled Magazine Photos

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San Francisco-based Samuel Price uses pieces of photographs he finds in old, discarded magazines to create intricate portraits of man’s best friend.

Sam Price’s career as a collage artist began when he was too young to afford paints and would tear up magazine and newspaper pages and glue them to a canvas. He did it out of necessity and because he has “always believed in the use of accessible materials as part of the instinctive process of creating art”. Stepping in the footsteps of artists like Pablo Picasso – a pioneer of collage art – Price uses recycled photographs as the medium for his artworks.

Unlike other collage makers, Price doesn’t use a computer as a guide when he creates his masterpieces. He spends several hours looking through discarded magazines, in the search for just the right color and shape that would fit his needs, and then glues every strip of paper himself.

Samuel Price takes great joy from creating something new and special from materials other people simply throw away, and says his work has helped him create a strong connection with many dog lovers. Through his collage portraits he tries to capture the special relationship between a dog and his owner.

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Artist Makes Imperial Walker Sculpture from Recycled Computer Parts

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Etsy artist TGNSmith has created a realistic replica of the iconic Imperial Walker out of various recycled computer parts and other scrap metal pieces.

The main body of the Star Wars AT-AT is made of power supply boxes from old computers, its head is made of floppy disk shelves, and the legs and feet from other scrap metal components. The one-foot-high and over one-foot-long sculpture was covered with two coats of galvanizing primer, followed by a coat of gray paint and finished off with two layers of protective gloss. The walker was also “attacked” with a welding arc that gave it those nice battle scars.

Weighing about 15 pounds, this miniature Imperial Walker has some sharp edges and corners and should not be used as a plaything for children. Star Wars fanboys can take it off TGNSmith‘s hands for only $450.

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Vietnamese Artist Turns Recycled Timber into Intricate Mosaics

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Nguyen Van Vien is a talented artist who collects all kinds of discarded piece of timber and uses them to create incredibly beautiful wooden mosaics.

The Vietnamese village of Khuc Toai has long been famous for its traditional carpentry, but a local artist is taking things to a whole new level with his original painting-like mosaics made from various types of recycled wood. Born in 1957, Nguyen Van Vien has always had a passion for the arts, and at age 19 he left his home village to study at the Indochina College of Fine Arts, in Hanoi. But it was a very difficult period for the Vietnamese, so after just two years of school, he had to return home and support his family. He turned to traditional carpentry, which barely earned him enough to put food on the table, but everything was about to change for the better.

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Greenpeace Turns Chopsticks Back into Trees

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Can you bring dead wood back to life? No, but you can turn them into trees again! This was the slogan that fueled Greenpeace and Ogvily’s campaign to help people realize the dangers of cutting down millions of trees to create disposable chopsticks.

Two hundred volunteers from various Beijing universities answered Greenpeace’s call and set out to gather 80,000 used wooden chopsticks, from restaurants around the Chinese capital. They cleaned them all up and then assisted artist Xu Yinhai in assembling them into four life-like trees. It was no easy task, but Green peace hopes this effort will inspire Chinese people to be more conscientious about their use of resources.

According to statistics from China’s Forest Ministry, the country produces 57 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks, which require over 1.18 million square meters of forests. Since China’s wood resources are very limited (ranking 139th in the world) its people have to ask themselves if it’s worth sacrificing 3.8 million trees a year, for something they just throw away after a meal.

The chopstick trees were planted on December 20, 2010, in one of the most popular malls in Beijing, The Place, in the Chaoyang district, and are planned to be displayed at universities and art venues around the city.

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The Mechanical Animals of Chris Cole

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American artist Chris Cole uses scrap metal parts to explore the border between nature and industry, by creating unique mechanical creatures.

As a young boy, Chris grew up in the American Northwest, surrounded by an abundance of wildlife that later influenced his art. At the same time, he always had a passion for all things mechanical, and would often take stuff apart, only to put them back together in a radical new way. Nowadays, he creates moving creatures, especially from the avian and aquatic reigns, from various scrap metal parts, connected by heavy bolts and operated by bicycle chains and small motors.

While he is still fascinated by machinery, and was greatly influenced by the visionaries of the industrial revolution, Chris Cole is very concerned with man’s “disconnection with the natural world”, and his work represents a “regression  from mechanism back to organism.”

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The Recycled Collage Art of Derek Gores

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Florida based graphic-designer Derek Gores takes old magazines, labels and other materials and recycles them into impressive collage artworks. The artist hand rips the magazines, maps or schematics and puts them together randomly to create impressive collages focused mostly on women and female fashion.

Here’s what Derek Gores has to say about his collage art: ‘I like my pictures to barely come together with teasing little details. Sort of like how the mind can’t help but wander, even when trying to focus on one thing. In the collages, some of the little bits I use are deliberate, but in most I’m trusting randomness to help build an end result more interesting than I could have planned. One friend calls it a Zen Narrative’.

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