Five reasons to try your hand at found art

Five Reasons to Try Your Hand at Found Art

When considering the prospect of creating found art (also termed «junk» art), you may wonder to yourself if it is, in fact, an art-form. To that I say, look at the work of photographic artist Andy Goldsworthy (more astonishing than his artistic eye is the fact that all of his art was left in nature to be destroyed by the elements). Or think back to your art history classes and the first time you saw Marcel Duchamp’s famous Fountain (yes, it is a urinal). While the styles of these two artists may differ to such a degree that you would never think they are part of the same movement, this fact just exemplifies the idea that found art, in all its many forms, it open to interpretation and available to literally everyone.

1. It’s modern. In fact, it started in the early 20th century as a response to (or revolt against) the so-called «fine art» of previous generations, helping to kick off the modernist movement in the art world and becoming a part of such subsequent movements as Surrealism and Dada. So even though it may seem like a load of trash, it is actually a serious artistic endeavor that many professional artists have tried their hand at.

2. It’s cheap. Found art, by definition, is made up of elements that are found. Now, where you find your materials is entirely up to you, and if you happen to pay for them at a flea market or elsewhere, rather than scrounging in the trash, that is certainly your prerogative. But embracing the concept means taking advantage of materials that can be scavenged from scrap heaps, garbage bins, and junkyards, so don’t be afraid to do a little dumpster-diving in search of artistic gold (just be sure to wear proper protective gear).

3. It’s easy. You don’t have to think too much about the objects you’ll use unless you have a particular message in mind. You can create found art from literally anything you find, such as scraps of metal, plastic, wood, or cloth, bits of newspaper, old machine parts, broken pottery, doll parts, utensils, and even, apparently, urinals. The sky is really the limit.

4. It’s freeing. Unlike most art-forms, which have specific requirements when it comes to tools, medium, and so on (you’d be hard-pressed to do a watercolor on treated canvas, for example), found art is completely without rules. You can incorporate absolutely anything into your art and assemble it however you like. While it may be scary to take that leap of faith, you will likely find that you are more creative without restrictions and it can open your mind to a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to expressing yourself artistically.

5. It’s eco-friendly. There’s no better way to indulge your creativity than by going green. Using found items is a great way to re-use objects that would otherwise go straight to the landfill or spend the next several years rusting away in some abandoned lot. So give some lucky trash a second life and do the planet a solid even as you create your next great work of art.

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