Rubbish Art: turning trash into treasure

In October 2018, jaws dropped around the world when Banksy shredded his £1.04 million ‘Girl With Balloon’ during an auction at Sotheby’s. From the slivers of destroyed canvas, a new piece was born, with the aptly-titled ‘Love is in the Bin’ verified as an original artwork. Its owner enjoyed her self-described “piece of art history”, while the artworld reeled from the stunt’s resounding message: rubbish and art are not mutually exclusive.

Girl with a Pearl Earring, after Vermeer   CROP

“Other people’s discards are my treasure!”

One artist who is bringing this idea to life is Devon-based Jane Perkins. The textiles graduate recreates classic works by Vincent van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci and Johannes Vermeer using plastic toys, cutlery, buttons and beads she finds at charity shops and car boot sales.  

“Some would describe me as a ‘re-maker’," she says. "Other people’s discards are my treasure! I love sifting through bags of unwanted goods or broken jewellery from friends. Everything used is as found. I’ve always been inspired by Picasso and his sculptures made with found objects – particularly ‘Bull’s Head’, which features a bicycle seat and handlebars.”

Students unite for governmental change

Recycling is certainly a hot topic, especially with Generation Z (those born from the mid-90s). In March this year, The Ecologist reported that ‘young activists are showing the way on climate change’. A quick scan of Instagram shows that while millennials once posted about their new lipstick or holiday, they’re increasingly using social media as a platform for political change.  

We spoke to Cheyenne Lückemeier, a psychology student at the University of Glasgow who recently took part in the UK-wide #YouthStrike4Climate protests. She told us: “I think many young people are starting to wake up. There is a growing frustration about the lack of pro-environmental actions by our politicians, and going out on the streets is giving us a voice. This is our last chance to change our future for the better.”

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Art at the bottom of the ocean

Over in the USA, the Washed Ashore Project has worked with over 10,000 volunteers to process more than 20 tonnes of debris to create over 70 sculptures of the animals affected by plastic pollution.

The non-profit travelling exhibition educates people from diverse backgrounds and was founded by Angela Haseltine Pozzi, who states that “until we run out of plastic on the beach, we will keep doing our work”.  

How are we making a difference?

Our art is created with the future in mind. We choose to work with FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified suppliers like Acorn Press to ensure that our brochures and magazines are sustainable and help to protect the environment.

No longer packaging our artworks with polystyrene, we instead use cardboard and recyclable Nomafoam derived from sugarcane. Plus, all of our wood and glass offcuts are recycled. 

Just like our first-ever gallery over 20 years ago, we know that something amazing can grow from a small seed. Follow our journey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @castlegalleries.

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Applied colour psychology expert Karen Haller speaks exclusively to our magazine about Gen Z Yellow, generational colour and how to introduce more sunny shades to your home.

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