There is a trend right now for upcycled home décor and artworks; but what is it?
Upcycling is the reuse and recycling of materials into something more useful and/or beautiful, and the artists of Art 1274 Hollis are certainly up to the task.
Just look at Al Hattie’s upcycled metal works in which you’ll see spoons turned into cute chicks, or forks placed painstakingly into the likeness of a lynx. Al is a genius when it comes to seeing an object built for one purpose as something completely unrelated. Like this piece in which Al chose a used spark plug for the face of a poodle. A curly mound of metal that would otherwise go to waste becomes the well coifed fur of the animal.
Perhaps one of Al’s more well known pieces is entitled ‘The Last Show’. It is a tribute piece to the late Gord Downie, in which his iconic hat is placed on a microphone stand accompanied by the well placed shadow of the singer mid-song, was recently added to the Halifax Legacy Room at City Hall.
Artist Jessica Steponaitis also is on the lookout for discarded items that can be given new life in her colorful and meticulous rug hooking. Here’s what she has to say about that process;
“My dog and I spend a lot of time hiking along the shoreline of Nova Scotia. I'm drawn to the driftwood we find along the way, especially the old pieces of wooden lobster traps. Lots of these driftwood pieces provide fresh inspiration for me and find a new life in my projects.
I hook my rugs using wool fabric, most of which I reclaim from worn-out or outdated wool clothing. I love being able to use discarded and found items to make something new and beautiful.”
I love it too Jessica! Just look at the beauty she has created from these found objects.
Nora Gross dropped of work recently with an incredible texture, and, upon closer inspection viewers may notice that she has incorporated seeds and grains in her pieces. In other pieces remnants of paper labels are used to add interest to her paintings. Items likely to be tossed out have been given new life by this incredible artist.
I work with newspapers that are read and left for dead. I love my chosen medium and am constantly excited by the fact that a grubby newspaper could be turned into fine art. As it should, in my opinion; a tree died to give us that paper and many resources and hours went into its making.
And so what else is upcycling?
It is giving value and life to something that could end up in a landfill or simply unappreciated. It is the creative use of what already exists and the reduction of items deemed useless. It is a type of creativity that has always intrigued me and it drives me to reduce and reuse as much as I can in my own practise.
As an artist who primarily works with reusing the daily newspaper to create collaged images that are constantly confused for textured paintings, I am drawn to individuals who see potential in discarded and unwanted items. I feel right at home at Art 1274 Hollis amongst these upcycling artists and the supportive team who can see the value in upcycling as part of an artistic practise.