Trevor Moran

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Trevor Moran is a friend of mine and a local artist who creates incredible and unique abstract paintings. One of several areas that he has explored is found object art. When I asked him why he began transforming objects into art he responded with the following:

“I have always loved the concept of ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. I decided to take that concept quite literally one day and painted a used pop can. It was nothing amazing but I loved the outcome. From there I began to constantly scout out things that I could use to make art. Being creative is not only my passion but an emotional outlet for me. I have dealt with anxiety issues throughout my life. Using found objects allows me to always have my “creative eyes” open, or in other words, always be searching for new ways I can make life a little more colourful. It’s sort of like I found a way to always be doing art even when I’m not “doing art”, and that’s very relieving for me” -Trevor Moran.

These words are inspiring. I am happy that Trevor has discovered this great talent and passion that he shares with others and uses as an emotional outlet. I believe that he has created a signature style with his abstract, whimsical and surreal characters.

Several artists that I have introduced share similar purposes for creating found object artworks. They enjoy the creativity it requires to give new meanings to objects that have outlived their original purposes. Found object art allows us to look at our surroundings in new perspectives, remain creative in our daily lives, refrain from being wasteful and as Trevor states, “make life a little more colourful” (Moran).

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20140406-130151.jpgBesides found object art, Trevor creates a wide range of paintings that each consist of unique concepts and aesthetic qualities. To view more of Trevor’s amazing art, visit 13th Avenue Coffee House AND add him on Instagram: “@theteemo”.

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Trash to Treasure

Items that I have recently repurposed include small and unused frames that I found in a dresser, and old wiring that came from a storage room in my basement. I creatively transformed these objects into a jewellery hanger. It is empowering to see handmade creations around my house.

With regards to teaching, I would introduce the concept of found object art and juxtaposition: “the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect”. I created the jewellery hanger using two dissimilar objects. In a way, the end product is surreal, as both items are juxtaposed and taken out of their original purposes. Subsequent to introducing Surrealism, I would have students choose two random objects or materials, with the objective of changing their meanings through the technique of juxtaposition.

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“Adapt For Use in a Different Purpose”

While researching found object artists and creating art using discarded materials, I began to think more creatively and view items around my house in new perspectives. Before throwing something out that I would normally consider “trash”, I ask myself if it could be repurposed in a unique way.

Recently, I became inspired to transform old objects and materials into practical household items. The concept of found object art encourages me to recycle and refrain from being wasteful.

My boyfriend had several artworks that he was going to frame, which would have cost quite a bit of money. However, this week I suggested creating frames out of unused cardboard that was sitting in my basement. Together, we cut and painted the cardboard, followed by glue-gunning the artworks on. Being creative and saving money at the same time was an enjoyable experience. Throughout this process, we continued to discuss other repurposing ideas, such as using old keys and wood to create a key hanger. This will be our upcoming project.

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“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”- Wayne Dyer

I became interested in found object art for several reasons.
Here are ten:

1. I enjoy looking at objects in new perspectives.
2. I embrace creativity and the use of imagination.
3. I feel empowered whenever I find artistic uses for materials that could be thrown away.
4. Art supplies are expensive. When creating found object art, all I have to do is look around my house.
5. Ideas for creating this form of art are limitless.
6. I like to be organized, and repurposing items into art helps de-clutter.
7. When I look at art that has been created with discarded items, I wonder where they came from. I am intrigued by the unique origins, history and previous uses of materials.
8. Found art has not only encouraged me to transform objects into art, but repurpose and recycle items to have practical purposes, such as creating household items out of random materials that I would originally throw out.
9. Found object creations apply to the world outside of visual art, such as furniture, household items, clothes, jewellery and more. These all relate to the process of recycling.
10. We are reducing the amount of waste that we create through repurposing objects. I believe that encouraging this concept is important for our society. The creations are useful, we automatically recycle and money is not needed. I am attracted to this art form because I care about the environment. Transforming “trash” into something new will ultimately improve our economic circumstances.

In the future I would like to teach a unit based on found object art, to give students the opportunity to be creative and gain an interest in recycling. Overall, they will become aware of the positive impact repurposing has on our wasteful society.

The annual Pasco Art of Recycling Contest has caught my attention. Dozens of students from nine different high schools turn trash into art and enter this competition. The prize of 2,000$ is encouraging, yet the focus it to lend a “youthful voice to the importance of environmental stewardship” (Miller). If my students had the opportunity to enter a competition such as this, I would encourage and support them in transforming trash into artworks and becoming advocates for the environment.

These are a few found artworks created by students from the Pasco Art of Recycling Contest:

20140310-163731.jpg“Shoe Phone” by Mariah Viera was created with old cellphone parts.

20140310-163804.jpg“Sea Turtle” by first place winner Kaitlyn Brusik was created with soda cans.

References:
http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/students-turn-trash-into-treasure-in-pasco-art-of-recycling-contest/1215421
http://www.pascocountyfl.net/index.aspx?NID=741

Repurposed Paint Brushes

Here is a mixed media artwork that I created. Mediums include paint, plaster and old brushes that I used to paint with before the ends wore out. Instead of throwing the brushes out, I decided to repurpose them into a painting so that they continue serving an artistic purpose. This piece speaks to the influences others have on our identity.

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Terry Border

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Terry Border (1965) received his B.S in Fine Art Photography at Ball State University and became a commercial photographer. He is also a creator of children’s books and unique wire sculptures. In 2006 he began a “Bent Objects” series, which focused on adding wire to everyday objects (or junk) to “help pose them as living characters, usually telling a story, and then photographing them…” (terryborder.com). Like several other artists that I have introduced, Border gives new purposes to discarded objects.

I enjoy the way Border mixes bent wires (that act as limbs) with humour, as well as the way he tells a story with each creation. His inspiration for creating the Bent Object series came from “sending little tokens of gratitude to distributors of his upcoming children’s book” (mymodernmet.com).

My favourite series created by Border is titled “Wiry Limbs, Paper Backs.” This collection is meant to give life to old books, by transforming them into sculptures that represent its own story. I am intrigued with what Border has to say about his book creations: “[a] local used bookstore has a rack of old, mostly classic paperbacks that they sell for $2, and the covers are so great, and the used ones have so much personality, they begged to be made into something. There are always some people who find doing anything to a book besides reading it morally wrong (ha!), but the way I see it, I’m showcasing these books and their covers like they never would have been otherwise. I have zero guilt about any of that nonsense.” If I am offered a job as a visual art teacher I would introduce my students to Terry Border and the reason as to why he transforms old books into art. He showcases books in new perspectives and makes us look at them differently. This would be a great visual art activity- to have students find an old book, read it and personify it in some way by transforming it into a work of art. Through creating found object art, students will be encouraged to look for inspiration in the world around them. They are also given the opportunity to explore new mediums and learn that they can “create an artwork out of nothing…[have] the creative ability and talent to put life into dull objects…” (graphicdesignblog.org).

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More about Border:
-He has two books published by Running Press that show his Bent Objects collections.
-He is currently in the process of creating a children’s book for Philomel – “a footprint of Penguin Publishing” (terryborder.com).
-He has a contract with Universal Publishing to create calendars and greeting cards with his Bent Objects.
-His Bent Objects have been “featured in magazines in the U.S., China, France, Russia, Germany, and Italy, and was the number one “culture” link of the year for the London Telegraph website…” (terryborder.com).

Further reading: “Bent Objects by Ralph Jones” (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz5poh9f64JuaGl4X3BEeDlKVFU/preview?pli=1)

References:

http://bentobjects.blogspot.ca/2014/01/wiry-limbs-paper-backs.html

http://terryborder.com/about-ba/

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/terry-border-wiry-limbs-paper-backs

http://www.graphicdesignblog.org/bent-objects-art-examples/

Thrift Shop

Throughout the past year I have discovered how easy it is to find found object art at garage sales or thrift stores. Here is a sculpture that I found this week at a thrift shop, created with bolts and other tools. Artist=unknown.

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As an Arts Education student, I am always thinking about art lessons that I could teach in the future. When I came across this sculpture I thought about the idea of having students visit a thrift shop to pick out a few ordinary items, followed by using them to create a found object artwork. I believe that transforming discarded items into works of art fuels creativity and forces students to think outside of the box, as well as reminds them that potential art is everywhere.