When Waste Went Up the Wall rather than Out the Window!

Art comes in various forms. It means different to different people. It is not something you can put in a nutshell. Over the years creativity has slowly started combining with sustainability to give us responsible art – art which not only has an aesthetic value but also has a deeper meaning in terms of doing something good.

Responsible art covers traditional crafting methods that use age old techniques and natural materials rather than machines that are used for mass production.

One of the main aims of responsible art is to empower the local, tribal artisans who practice these old traditions which have been passed down through generations. This creates a liveable source of income for these artisans who belong to the lower echelons of society.

The most recent buzzword related to responsible art is upcycling. Upcycling is the process of converting non-biodegradable materials into products that look very attractive and have high utilitarian value. Upcycling not only reduces the amount of toxic waste that goes to the landfills but drastically reduces the production of new non-ecofriendly products.

Upcycling is a fairly new concept. It is much better than recycling since minimal or no energy is required to convert the waste into a beautiful piece of art.

One of the most commonly upcycled materials are the vintage vinyl records. These outdated records are made from a special type of plastic which would take forever to decompose if dumped in the landfills. Instead, many upcycling companies convert them into products like wall hangings and key chains which are surprisingly quite spectacular to look at.

Under Responsible art, we also have socially conscious artists who create cartoons and graffiti that promote sustainable and natural living.

In many places in India, selfless companies and NGOs take it upon themselves to beautifully paint public walls that have been vandalised. Their art actually acts as a protection for these walls.



Upcycling: How my room went from boring to awesome!

I moved to Bangalore two years ago and since then I have shifted rooms thrice. Getting back from work, to a dull looking room was depressing. I thought changing residences would help. But it was after moving for the third time that I understood that the problem was not with the room but rather what I did with it. When the room was empty except for a bed and a couple of bags, of course it looked gloomy.

So I decided to do something about it. I browsed online for wall hangings, rugs and what not. This is when I came across the term ‘upcycle’. I would have moved on without a second glance, but a couple of  products under that title caught my eyes and I decided to have a look.

All the products that were hosted looked extremely funky and cool. I was surprised to see old liquor bottles converted to beautiful candle holders and chandeliers. Being the curious person I am, I decided to research more about ‘upcycle’. Turns out it is more about reusing waste products than actually manufacturing new ones. I personally felt it was way better than recycling.

Now, as much as I am curious, I am also lazy and not particularly skilled at making crafts and that sort of thing. So I decided that I’d start buying upcycled products from the many vendors out there and so far it has turned out to be good. I bought wall hangings, a clock, a key-chain holder, chair and table, posters and other awesome stuff, and boy doesn’t my room look lively. The products are made from either reclaimed wood, old vinyl records or some or the other kind of non-biodegradable plastic, which would otherwise go to landfills.

I’m not a hippie or a party animal or that sort of a person, but back in the room, with a low light setting, and all these awesome stuff on the wall and some pretty darn good rock music, it kind of does make me feel cool. And the best part, I actually do feel I am doing some good by keeping waste from the landfills.

I realised that if people start doing what I am doing, we can easily put an end to the production of harmful goods and put to good use the things that we already have. I do hope others join me in this. Taking a leaf of out of Donald Trump’s campaign, “Let’s make the World great again.”

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