The Art of the Find

By Chris Landers
Photos: Courtesy of the Artists

Artists have always looked to the sea for inspiration, but lately some of them haven't liked what they found. Artists around the world are trying to raise awareness about the problems of marine debris and the plastic trash choking our oceans and waterways. Taking their cues and their materials from the sea, they make trash into treasure.

Photo of sculpture created from plastic debris

Kamilo | Aurora Robson

Everything Robson used for her four-and-a-half-foot sculpture was collected by the Hawaii Wildlife Fund during a coastal cleanup on the Big Island. A Canadian living in New York City, Robson founded Project Vortex, an international collective of artists working with plastic debris.

Photo of tuna sculpture created from beach trash

Bin Tin & Tuna | Skeleton Sea

Skeleton Sea is a collective project by artists Luis de Dios, Xandi Kreuzeder, and João Parrinha. The artists are all surfers, and use beach trash to communicate "the meeting point between Mother Nature, Sport and Art." Photo of fish sculpture created from beach trash

Photo of sea creature sculptures woven from plastic bags

Octoplas, Foureyed Coral & Jellyfish | Michelle Lougee

Lougee's Gyre project is a collection of sea creatures made from woven, post-consumer plastic bags, which she transforms into yarn. Her sculpture Octoplas, more than eight feet in diameter, is woven from more than 500 plastic shopping bags.  Photo of sculpture Foureyed Coral

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall | Andy Hughes

Hughes' project "Dominant Wave Theory" takes a close-up view of beaches from California to West Cornwall, England. Hughes, a member of Surfers Against Sewage, published a book collecting the series in 2006.

Rainbow trout sculpture

Rainbow Trout | Tom Deininger

Deininger creates sculptures, and even portraits, entirely from found objects. He's worked with cigarette butts he collects on the beach, and almost anything else he finds. 

— Published: August/September 2012

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