Found Object Art: 13 Sculptures Made of Reclaimed Items

The term ‘recycled art’ is fairly new, but found object art has been around at least since Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 work ‘Fountain‘, which consisted simply of a used urinal. Artists have been salvaging materials from car parts to kitchen utensils for decades, for inclusion in sculptures, paintings, drawing, collages and other examples of ‘found art’. These 13 works of art incorporate reclaimed objects into everything from small sculptures to large-scale installations.

Zac Freeman’s Amazing Found Object Portraits

(images via: zac freeman art)

Buttons, jar lids, Legos and every kind of small doo-hickey imaginable find their way into the portraits of Zac Freeman, who manages to coax strikingly realistic images out of all this junk.

“I glue the bits of junk to a wooden substrate to form an image, usually faces, which only can be seen at a distance. I was interested in communicating through visual representation in apparent 2-dimensional space and through the actual objects used for the medium in 3-dimensional space. It is very important to me that I incorporate the actual objects into the art as opposed to a picture or rendition of it because it better expresses the intention of the artwork. I feel the junk is more powerful being present. It is an actual thing to be reckoned with that existed in this time and place and carries energy in and of itself.”

Drawings on Reclaimed Envelopes by Mark Powell

(images via: inhabitat)

We throw away used envelopes without a thought each and every day, but they’re not without value. Artist Mark Powell reclaims vintage envelopes and uses them as a drawing surface that give his work a little bit of extra character. The stamps, addresses and other markings on the envelopes give his portraits the feel of collage.

Eagle Made of Kitchen Utensils

(images via: saya kaganz)

Spatulas, measuring cups, serving forks and spoons come together in this awesome found object sculpture of an eagle by Japanese artist Sayaka Ganz. Despite these highly unusual materials, the eagle’s shape is spot-on, down to the claws and the spoon-and-knife feathers of the tail.

Miniature Matchbook Portraits by Jason D’Aquino

(images via: jason d’aquino)

They’re small enough to fit inside a matchbook – literally – yet these drawings by Jason D’Aquino are still amazingly detailed. The miniaturist has completed an entire series of drawings on reclaimed 1950s and ’60s matchbooks, created with the help of a magnifying glass.

Darth Vader Goes Green

(images via: alain bellino)

Would you believe that this bust of Darth Vader started out with a pair of spoons? French artist Alain Bellino photographed every step of the process of creating this realistic sculpture, which is made of scrap metal of all kinds. Check out the whole thing at his website.

Butterflies by Michelle Stitzlein

(images via: ette studios)

Piano keys, bits of broken plates and various other waste materials go through a transformation of their own to become the beautiful large-scale butterfly sculptures of Michelle Stitzlein.

Salvaged Skateboards by Haroshi

(images via: haroshi)

Stacks of old skateboards, stripped of their grip tape, are glued together and then carved with a jig saw to create the stunning striped sculptures of Japanese artist Haroshi. The artist creates this series of recycled art in collaboration with HUF skateboards and the Bay Area-based skateboard distributor DLX Distribution.

Environmental Art Totems by John Dahlsen

(images via: john dahlsen)

Stacks and stacks of flip-flops, plastic soda bottles, styrofoam packaging, buoys and other waste items become “contemporary environmental art totemic sculptures” by artist John Dahlsen. The Australian artist actually gathers these discarded items from beaches, dividing them up by color into surprisingly beautiful sculptures that speak both of the power of consumerism in our society, and the plummeting value of these materials in such a short period of time.

Door Facade

(images via: choi jeong-hwa)

A dilapidated 10-story building in Seoul, South Korea received a colorful new look in the form of 1,000 brightly colored reclaimed doors in an installation by artist Choi Jeong-Hwa.

Stunning Wooden Installations by Tadashi Kawamata

(images via: dornob)

Resembling natural structures like beehives and bird nests, these art installations by Tadashi Kawamata consist of wooden detritus like old chairs and pallets. The reclaimed items are lashed together with zip ties into massive public sculptures that bend and twist in unexpected ways.

Wall of Computer Keys by Sarah Frost

(images via: sarah frost)

Stand-alone keyboards are nearly obsolete as most of us begin ditching desktop computers for laptops and tablets, meaning most of those plastic keys end up in landfills. But artist Sarah Frost collects these keys and uses them to create wall art with a pixelated look, the keys nearly unidentifiable when viewed from afar.

Treen by Kirsten Hassenfeld

(images via: kirsten hassenfeld)

Found objects made of glass, metal, ceramic, plastic, wood and enamel come together into beautiful monochromatic groupings, either hanging from the ceiling or placed atop mirrors in artist Kirsten Hassenfeld’s series ‘Treen’. Whether strung together or stacked, the objects call to mind sparkling fantasy castles.

Found-Object House and Chapel by Martin Sanchez

(images via: unusual life)

An entire city block in Riverside, California has become a public art gallery for Martin Sanchez, who has been building strange reclaimed sculptures for over a decade. Among Sanchez’s creations, on the property of his restaurant Tio’s Tacos, are a recycled house and chapel. The chapel is made mostly of beer bottles, with a dome covered in intricate mosaics made of broken dishes.

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