Lost But Found Again - Recycled Environmental Art


While we all try and do our part to save the environment, artist John Dahlsen makes art from it. He actually scours the beaches in order to find material to use for his unique artwork.


The above works Vessel and Womb were created from found plastic objects and nylon rope. This recycled art has a price tag of $8,000 for Womb and $15,000 for Vessel.

Light Blue Plastic PurgeLight Blue Plastic Purge

Light Blue Plastic Purge is included in a series where everything is made of plastic. The artist states that these works represent everything and nothing. 

Black Purges On Encaustic 1Black Purges On Encaustic 1

Black Plastic Purge on Encaustic 1 is part of John’s “The Purge Series”, which is a series of synthetic polymer paintings on Belgian linen and canvas. 

Driftwood Assemblage #2Driftwood Assemblage #2

This work was made from found driftwood objects collected from Australian beaches.

From the artist statement; "My creative medium changed to found art as a result of one such ‘accident’ in 1997. I was collecting driftwood, on a remote Victorian Coastline, with the intention of making furniture and stumbled upon vast amounts of plastic ocean debris. I was immediately affected by a whole new palette of colour and shape revealing itself to me; I had never seen such hues and forms before.

Since then, I have scoured Australian beaches for found objects which I bring back to my studio to sift, sort, and colour-code for my assemblages, sculptures and installations. As I work with them in my studio I become even more fascinated by the way they have been modified and weathered by the ocean and nature’s elements. My challenge as an artist is to take these found objects, which might on first meeting have no apparent dialogue, and to work with them until they speak and tell their story."


The GuardianThe Guardian

The Guardian is a public work of art that is made from recycled leftover road construction materials, mostly consisting of guard rails and concrete pipes. It is located next to Story Bridge in Brisbane. The artist was commissioned by the Brisbane City Council to recycle the leftover materials from construction being done at the time.

Primary TotemsPrimary Totems

The five totems in this work of art are made from found plastic objects and stainless steel.

About this work: “These totemic sculptures were the next series of works following on from my assemblage wall works, which began as my creative medium shifted from abstract painting to working as an environmental artist, as a result of an artistic accident during the mid 1990's. I was collecting driftwood, on a remote Victorian Coastline, with the intention of making furniture and stumbled upon vast amounts of plastic ocean debris.”

Absolut DahlsenAbsolut Dahlsen

John Dahlsen was the first Australian artist to be commissioned by V & S Absolut Spirits, Sweden to create a work of art. Other artists, such as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Francesco Clemente and Damien Hirst were also previously chosen to create art for Absolut.


Well, what do you think? This art is certainly different, yet pretty cool that it can be created by using objects others may regard as trash. This just shows that anything can be turned into something beautiful.


Copyrighted images used with permission. Many thanks to John Dahlsen! Visit his website to see more of his amazing environmental work.