Utne Blogs > Environment

Artful Recycling

by Rachel Levitt


Tags: Environment, green living, art, recycling, New York City, Museum of Art and Design, Environmental Graffiti,

New York artist Jean Shin makes detailed, beautiful works of art using recyclables like empty bottles and refuse like old vinyl records. Perhaps the most impressive pieces are “Chance City,” meticulous scale-model buildings made entirely of discarded lottery tickets, and the melted-vinyl tidal wave "Sound Wave," now at the Museum of Art and Design.

Ryan Curtis from Environmental Graffiti identifies this as the essence of her art: taking worthless things like those tickets and giving them renewed value as works of art. Using discarded objects to make art is not new, but Curtis argues that Shin “manages to bring the items together in a way that makes us think about them in a new light. Previously, those vinyl records, lottery tickets, clothes and shoes meant something to us, and were very important in our lives. [She shows] us that not only are these things still of value; they are also still beautiful.”