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.



Terry Border



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…” ( 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” (

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…” (






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” (
-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…” (

Further reading: “Bent Objects by Ralph Jones” (


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.


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.

Takahiro Iwasaki



Takahiro Iwasaki is a Japanese artist from Hiroshima, Japan, who transforms ordinary found objects such as tape, discarded toothbrush bristles and towel threads into small and intricate sculptures. Using everyday materials, Iwasaki creates topographical maps, landscapes, buildings, roller coasters and ferris wheels that represent technology, modern civilization, historical temples and industrial environments. They are meant for viewers to “question their interpretation in the contemporary world” (

Iwasaki’s series titled “Out of Disorder” includes city skylines created from towel threads and tape. They “represent[ ] our world and how civilization simply occurs surrounded by chaos” (





References: apt7_asia_pacific_triennial_of_contemporary_art/artists/takahiro_iwasaki

Javier Pérez


The artwork of Javier Pérez is simple, creative and intriguing. Pérez is an art director and graphic illustrator from Ecuador who began posting a whimsical series of illustrations on Instagram- “simple ideas mix everyday objects with line drawings” (Pérez). His Instagram account “Cintascotch” introduces his “Intagram Experiments” that is meant to “[look] for new meaning of the common everyday items” (Pérez). The idea of changing the meaning and purpose of an object inspires me to view what is around me in new perspectives. His art encourages me to “look at these everyday things differently with a more imaginative and playful perspective” (LINEN).

Pérez keeps his work simple because he wants people to “take a break of the saturation of the photos in general” (Pérez). Surprisingly, he did not think that people would like his creations to such an extent. I am a fan and have been inspired to create my own illustrations using various objects around my house (see below). I have come to realize that this art-practice is a great exercise for the imagination, and is more difficult than it looks.

Pérez uploads a new art creation each week on Instagram. He states that “[t]he artists of Instagram have the challenge to capture the attention of the people only just for few seconds and show them that your artwork is unique and different from the rest” (Pérez). With 81,000 followers, it is clear that he has made heads turn with his innovative style.

I appreciate artists who capture my attention with minimalistic artworks. The creative use of random objects one would not normally see as art is clever and fun. It is difficult to fully explain why my eyes light up as soon as I look at his simple illustrations- perhaps because his idea is novel, surreal and unexpected.



Here are a few of my Pérez-inspired creations using an old guitar pick and guitar strings:


Check out similar artists Victor Nune ( and Debbie Ohi (


Erika Iris Simmons


Born in St. Louis, USA (1983), Erika Iris Simmons is a self-taught artist who focuses on using non-traditional, discarded and/or donated materials to create works of art. Specifically, she has a love for the archaic/nostalgia and uses materials such as sheet music, wine labels, money and old cassette tapes.

In her series titled “Ghost in the Machine”, she uses cassette tapes to create portraits of iconic celebrities, “associating the item with the people…” (Simmons) and blending “conceptual art with craft-making and popular culture” (Simmons). She states that her idea comes from a philosopher named Gilbert Ryle, who believes our spirit exists in our body. Simmons “imagine[s] we are all, like cassettes, thoughts wrapped up in awkward packaging” (Simmons).

What I like most about Simmons is that she “hope[s] that not everything which has outlived its use goes to waste” (Simmons). I am attracted to the idea of discovering new purposes for objects, as it focuses on exploring creativity and can reveal novel ideas such as the work of Simmons.

Interesting facts:

-2010: Simmons helped director Ethan Lader produce the music video “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars, which “received over 300 millions views on youtube” (
-2013: Simmons was “honored as the Official Artist for the 2013 Grammy Awards” (
-Past clients of Simmons: “The Times, Oprah Magazine, MAXIM, Levis Strauss & Co., Hermes, Showtime, and RayBan” (