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Recycled Beauty


Steven Hofmann

Recycled Beauty, 2013
Acrylic on Wood
10 inches x 10 inches
Recycling has been a common practice for most of human history, with recorded advocates as far back as Plato in 400 BC. During periods when resources were scarce, archaeological studies of ancient waste dumps show a significant decrease in household waste suggesting an increase in conservation, reuse of materials and recycling due to scarcity of new material or a reduced ability to acquire new material. In the strictest sense, recycling would produce a fresh supply of the same material—for example, used office paper would be converted into new office paper, or used foamed polystyrene into new polystyrene. However, this is often difficult or expensive (compared with producing the same product from raw materials or other sources), so “recycling” of many products or materials involves their reuse in producing different materials (e.g., paperboard) instead. Another form of recycling is the salvage of certain materials from complex products, either due to their intrinsic value (e.g., lead from car batteries, or gold from computer components).

Artists as know for saving a wide variety of materials for use in creative projects. Most commercial packing has the potential to become a pattern or texture in an artist process. Toothbrushes, straws and popsicle sticks make wonder alternative paint delivery tools that allow an effect quite different from a traditional paint brush. For “Recycled Beauty” to be discovered, I first had to build a stand using dowels and a 2×4 in order to create hand painted ornaments. Many layers of transparent liquid glaze were used with varying amounts of color added for subtle effects. The majority of the paint ran off of the ornament surface onto the stand. The stand’s surface slowly became visually quite stimulating, but lacked any sort of order, composition or relationship. The solution was to cut the stand into smaller blocks that could be further colored to create harmony. The end result is a perfect example that often times we discover something new as an after effect of a related creative experiment procedure. This work is the key that has opened a door to an entirely new creative method.


North Central Art Gallery, 8808 N Central Ave #100, Phoenix, AZ 85020