Featured Artist Karen Benjamin

Australian artist Karen Benjamin creates one-of-a-kind 2D and 3D art, from wall art to clothing, using only recycled materials. Learn more about this artist and her work by visiting her website.

 

“Little Fish” Recycled Plastic Packaging, 30cm x 25cm

“Little Fish” Recycled Plastic Packaging, 30cm x 25cm

 

I am an Australian award-winning artist who works only with recycled materials. The materials I use vary enormously from old clothing to fallen gumnuts to recycled plastics.

 

“Shark Bait” Recycled Plastic Bags on Poplin, 25cm x 30cm by artist Karen Benjamin. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Shark Bait” Recycled Plastic Bags on Poplin, 25cm x 30cm

 

Sustainability of our planet is a complex issue which I am constantly inspired by. With my art I try to raise awareness about issues that will affect future generations if change is not implemented. The planet has spoken and we need to listen before she roars. We all have a part to play. Hopefully my art helps in a non-confrontational way.

 

“A Turtle Story” Recycled Plastic Bags, 72cm x 92cm

“A Turtle Story” Recycled Plastic Bags, 72cm x 92cm

 

Reduce, Re-use, Recycle is my mantra.

 

“Flower Dress” Recycled Plastic Bags on Mannequin, 50cm x 80cm

“Flower Dress” Recycled Plastic Bags on Mannequin, 50cm x 80cm

 

Single use plastic bags are my current focus. Many of my artworks relay a message of the trouble our waterways are in. Living in a sleepy seaside town, I have witnessed too often the devastation that plastic can cause to our marine life. Along with my local community I have been able to save one million single use plastic bags from landfill and waterways.

 

Process Image - Ironing Recycled Plastic Bags by artist Karen Benjamin. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

Process Image – Ironing Recycled Plastic Bags

 

I use hundreds (sometimes thousands) of plastic bags in each artwork. I sew, weave and layer different coloured bags together. Then I use a household iron and baking paper to complete the process. The heating shrinks the plastic and makes it into a tough and durable product.

 

“Flinders Reef” Recycled Plastic Bags, 90cm x 90cmby artist Karen Benjamin. See her portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Flinders Reef” Recycled Plastic Bags, 90cm x 90cm

 

I can never guarantee what the end product will look like, so I have to keep an open mind and work with whatever is produced. Sometimes the effects are amazing and beautiful. Sometimes they are not!

 

“Turtle Talk” Recycled Plastic Bags, 30cm x 40cm

“Turtle Talk” Recycled Plastic Bags, 30cm x 40cm

 

This process transforms a boring (and potentially lethal) plastic bag into a loud and proud artwork that will help people to think about their own recycling habits and tread more gently on the earth.

 

“Fish Tales - Barra McKenzie” Recycled Plastic Packaging, 92cm x 72cm

“Fish Tales – Barra McKenzie” Recycled Plastic Packaging, 92cm x 72cm

 

By 2050 it is predicted that the ocean will have more plastic than fish. Statistics like this help me to stay focused on collecting and using plastic in my arts practice.

 

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Comments

  1. This work is so well considered, so well intentioned and beautiful! Thank you for sharing and best wishes on your continued success and adventures!

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