15 Incredible Artworks Made From Trash

One person's trash is another person's treasure, or in this case art material.
Jessica Miley
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Artists can find inspiration in any material, even objects or items that others might deem as trash. This list finds incredible artists working in uncommon materials to create moving works of art.

1. Hubcap Creatures

These fish used to be hubcabs
Source: Hubcapcreatures

UK artist Ptolemy Elrington scours the sides of highways for lost hubcaps to use as the main material in his gorgeous aquatic inspired sculptures. Made from common highway flotsam, Elrington cuts, adds and bends to form memorable sculptures that have found homes all over the world.

2. Carved tires

Tyres take on a new life after being delicatley carved.
Source: Wim Delvoye

 Belgium artist, Wim Delvoye has used all sorts of materials in his art from tattoos to excrement. In his tire series, he used old car tires which he then intricately carved with delicate patterns. The heavy objects take on the feeling of being highly fragile and valuable.

3. Love of junk for life

Leo Sewell grew up close to a dump and has spent his whole life collecting unusual materials for his wonderful sculpture works. Over the years Sewell has developed a unique style of assemblage that helps him create striking 3D creatures and portraits from all sorts of thrown away materials.

4. Beach walks create art

Miro made trash sculptures in his later years.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Joan Miro (1893-1983) spent the last years of his life on the island of Mallorca. He would often walk the beach collecting objects that he would turn into sculptures.  he would paint the trash in block bright primary colors transforming their trash quality into smooth gorgeous works of art. 

5. Trash People 

HA Schult is a German artist working across disciplines. Since 1996 he has toured a large work called 'Trash People' composed of life-size sculptures in human form made entirely of trash. The controversial project has toured to many major cities including Paris, Russia, and Cairo.

6. Mask Maker

traditional art meets modern materials
Source: Ed Franklin Gavua/DW

Ed Franklin Gavua is a Ghana artist that creates traditional masks out of found materials. The artist uses a paste made from mixing shredded and ground leaves and card with tree glue that is then combined with found plastic and other objects.

7. Tim Noble and Sue Webster 

This trash art is transformed by light.
Source: Tim Noble and Sue Webster

Noble and Webster met at art school in London. They make sculptures out of trash, that completely transform when a light is shone on it. Created from the small bits of timber, plastic, and metal, the unusual sculptures are fascinating objects even before they are lit up. 

8. Coathangers

David Mach makes art from clothes hangers
Source: David Mach

David Mach uses thousands of coathangers to create his massive sculptures.  Stacked together, the coathangers create 3D objects that appear blurry due to the hook obscuring the overall form.

9. Robert Bradford

These spooky sculptures are made form old toys
Source: Saatchi Gallery

 Bradford screws old toys onto a wooden armature to create his arresting sculptures of animals.  A former psychotherapist Bradford examines ideas about innocence and consumerism in his work.

 10. House of Trash

A house becomes art and back again
Source: TreeGuyton

Tree Guyton transformed whole houses in Detroit, Michigan into works of out by painting and assembling found objects.  He hoped to transform these communities devasted by the financial crisis into places where people would want to live again. 

 11. Hand molded cans

Noah Deleda takes an ordinary aluminum can and turns it into a rare art object - all by bending the metal with their hands. Deleda sums up their artistic practice saying "through sculptures, I try to create something unique out of an ordinary object. In this case, a common disposable object. The technique itself also embodies this theme of elevation by implementing the incidental gestures of disposal, The scratch dent and Crease. Through artistic principles these actions are re-imagined. The scratch for instance, when repeated and refined, has a polishing affect which reveals a brilliant raw material of the otherwise ordinary consumer item."

12. BYO trash

Your trash could become a valued object
Source: AtelierHapax

Atelier Hapax invites people to bring them their trash which is then transformed into stunning useful objects.  These wonderful items range from chess sets to lamps to jewelry. Each person is invited to reflect on what their trash means to them before handing it over to the atelier for upcycling. 

13. Casting a new light on bottles.

9000 bottles were needed to create this sculpture
Source: Bomb-Collective

Australian artists BombCollective created a show-stopping lamp by attaching over 9000 600 ml plastic bottles to giant nets.  The sculpture creates a conversation starting centre price to any space it is hung.

14. Waste not want not.

This colourful sculpture is made from plastic bags.
Source: ChoiJeongWha

Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa uses a variety of recycled waste products to create huge installations and public artworks.  Ranging from giant fish puppets made from plastic bags to buildings made from old doors, Jeong Wha's works tell stories of places, people and culture.

15. Think big

These huge car cows can be found all over Finland.
Source: Mina Akkijyrkka

Miina Äkkijyrkkä is an artist obsessed with cows.  Her works range from painting, sculptures to these incredible large scale statues made from recycled cars that can be found all over Finland. 

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