The Art of Recycling: What is Sustainable Art?

The Art of Recycling: What is Sustainable Art?

Sculpture from discarded ceramic dishes and sanitary ware, installations out of broken plug fixtures and other plastic waste, glass bangles transformed into colorful ‘people’ twinkling in the sunshine… these were just some the imaginings of the Indian artist Nekchand brought to fruition in the Chandigarh Rock Garden in the 1970’s. The dedicated 40 acres of the Rock Gardenin India’s first every planned city, bear testament to one man’s immense ability to visualize and to transform waste into art. The garden is not just a world class tourist attraction, but also one of the best known examples of sustainable and contemporary, eco friendly art.

Sustainable Art

The concept of sustainable art has truly come of age in recent times. More and more artists are recognizing the need to increase awareness for the environment via their work. Environmental art isn’t just about recycling or the endeavor to create the best out of waste; it also now encompasses other principles such as social justice, grassroots democracy and nonviolence. The work of sustainable artists is seen within various contexts: social, cultural, economic, historical and biophysical.

Significant Sustainable Art Projects and Installations

Eve Mosher is an environmental artist based in New York and is best known for her work HighWaterLine; her public art installations which accurately predicted how climate change would impact our world.

Mary Miss, another American environmental artist has been a part of the land art movement for decades now. Significant works include “FLOW: Can You See the River?” in Indianapolis and “Connect the Dots” in Boulder, Colorado which emphasized the need to remain prepared for floods.
Toxic runoff into vibrant paint pigment, waste metal transformed into a bust of Darth Vader, recycled barrettes and fake nails transformed into arresting art, elaborate art sculptures from beach sand…. Artists are doing all this and more right now. 

How You Can Turn Waste Into Art

Consider these ways to creatively use waste around the house: old clothes can be turned into tote bags or patchwork quilts/ quilt covers. Old newspapers can be used as gift wrap. Toilet paper rolls can easily transform into pen stands, or cutlery stands. Broken tile or glass can transform into a striking wall collage and a talking point with some amount of creativity. Used wine bottles can transform into a flower vase or a lamp stand with little effort.

You can transform used bottles of water into planters, bowls, trays and so on. Even old shoes and gumboots can get a second lease in life – turn those into planters for your kitchen herb garden or plant colorful seasonals! There is a lot you can do even with bottle caps or discarded aluminum cans. Egg shells can be used to create some interesting items as well. Get some interesting ideas for turning art into waste and more waste into art ideas from pins on Pinterest. Recycle your waste and create your own contemporary art and sculpture! 

Even the empty ink and toner cartridges that you have can be turned into art: paper clip holder, pen stand, tray, lampshade, paper weight, model car, letter stamps and so much more! To get some useful ideas, check out some of these ink and toner cartridge art ideas and some more empty cartridge art ideas.

What Else You Can Do With Your Used Ink Cartridges

If you have some creative ideas about transforming waste into art, feel free to share these with us in the comments or via our social networking pages.

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