"Upcycling" is the act of repurposing a piece of material to make it have a higher value than it did while fulfilling its original purpose. It's great for the environment as well as for the people that get to reuse and gain value from otherwise discarded materials.
Now, in an impressive example of creative reuse, artist +Brauer has made an incredible collection of pop art-style artworks that have recycling and upcycling at their essence.
Making art out of junk
+Brauer's “Plastic Icon ©" series sees the artist — who has designed numerous album covers for French as well as international artists — use plastic, a material of which there is no short supply.
+Brauer decided to turn the plastic into a series of 20th century iconic portraits.
The artist meticulously assembled hundreds of discarded plastic pieces, including toys, pens, bottles, packaging of all different shapes, sizes.
He carefully chose the colors so that they could be classified and used for the specific piece he was working on.
Each piece of plastic is untouched and is the same color as when it was found — no dye or paint was used.
Resistance to overconsumption
By assembling each piece in a specific pattern, the artist brought these iconic figures to life, while giving them a message — the problem of accumulated plastic in landfills and oceans.
Any shape or iconic figure could likely be created out of all the countless pieces of discarded plastic in the world.
As +Brauer's website says, "every second, 200 kg of plastic is dumped in the oceans, more than 100,000 marine mammals die every year, and if we go on like this there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050."
These large-format works (80x80 cm) are presented by the artist as a personal vision of resistance to overconsumption.
More of +Brauer's art can be found on his website.