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).
Besides 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”.
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.
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.
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:
“Shoe Phone” by Mariah Viera was created with old cellphone parts.
“Sea Turtle” by first place winner Kaitlyn Brusik was created with soda cans.