Art and Plastic

I did not know there was a connection between a Zero Waste Home and plastic art until this week. Let me explain how it all came together.

A few weeks ago I saw a film about a Zero Waste Home and  I have been mildly obsessed ever since. Bea Johnson and her family produce next to no garbage, and recycle very little. They simply do not buy things that are packaged. They need not worry about what to do with it all because there is no all. She writes a blog called Zero Waste Home that has many tips on reducing waste and living more simply. The concept I really get as I have been decluttering my own home is that having less stuff gives me more time. The more I get rid of the more I question my future purchases and the less there is to look after. There is real freedom in that.

Last week I saw an art exhibit at Electric Works Gallery that visually represented why one might choose to give up packaging altogether. This particular series by Chris Jordan showed baby albatross on remote Midway Island dead from having ingested plastic that their parents fed them. Bottle lids, Bic lighters, you name it; all manner of our bits and bobs.

Chris takes massive numbers relating to our consumption and reduces them to a digestible (and rather indigestible) visual representations. In tandem with his photographs are powerful life-sized images of whales taken by Bryant Austin. This show is over now but the effects are lingering.

I met Richard Lang, a partner at Electric Works, and we struck up a lively conversation about plastic. He and his wife have been scouring a California beach for over 12 years collecting plastic of an amazing array. They have a really interesting story. And I love their art work (below) which is made entirely out of plastic collected from one beach. The similar style to my designs struck me. They have upcoming shows in the Bay Area.

Beach Plastic Art Soldiers

Wreath Soldiers, Beachplastic.com

Wreath Hairclips

Wreath Hairclips, BeachPlastic.com

These many inspirations are exponentially powerful. Here’s to the power of art and the consumer!

More Links:

Chris Jordan’s Midway Project

Chris Jordan explains his work and the concepts behind it on Ted Talks.

A great short film about Richard and Judith and their beach plastic.

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