5 Artists Who Turned Marine Plastic Into a Movement

Following statistics that more than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the sea each year, the pollution of our oceans is a topic of much discussion. It’s incredible how, over the last 70 years or so, our world had become so reliant on this man-made product. 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year because it’s inexpensive, useful and convenient, but it’s also created the mentality that we live in a disposable world.

Single-use plastic is currently being tackled by the government, and recent ideas include a deposit scheme at supermarkets on all plastic bottles. We’ve already seen excellent results in the UK after the 5p carrier bag charge was introduced, but year after year plastic is still polluting our oceans and destroying wildlife. Marine plastic is the worst offender as it does not fully degrade, meaning sea life such as whales, turtles and fish are in danger.

At TINCTURE, we are continually finding new ways to reduce our plastic waste. Every component that goes into making our products has been selected to have a positive impact on the world. Our bottles are recyclable, environmentally friendly
and cruelty-free.  We have a few changes in the pipeline which will make us even more eco-friendly in the future...

It’s important for us to take ownership of the plastic we use and stop it from damaging our environment. We were inspired by these five artists who use abandoned plastic to create thought-provoking art designed to showcase the unacceptable state of our oceans:

Hong Kong Soup 1826, Mandy Barker

This image by award-winning international photographer, Mandy Barker, uses plastic gathered from more than 30 beaches around the world. It depicts the 2000 tons of plastic waste added to landfills each day.  The  seemingly never-ending swirls of colours in the background symbolize how deep and widespread this problem has become. The motivation behind Barker’s work is to raise awareness about plastic pollution. She has helped scientists to research marina plastic debris in the wake of tsunamis and been a guest speaker at the Plastic Free Seas youth conference in Hong Kong.

Sea Globes, Max Liboiron

Max Liboiron is an environmental scientist whose work focuses on how toxins from marine plastics are damaging our environment. This piece, created for an exhibition at the Anchorage Museum, Alaska entitled Gyre: The Plastic Ocean, is a concentrated look at what our oceans have become. The globe is filled with plastic collected from the Hudson River, punctured with a slab of bituminous coal from an underwater landfill in Brooklyn.

Environmental Wallworks, John Dahlsen

This piece is a true example of recycling. Each colour, fibre and texture has been collected from beaches and made into a piece of art. John Dahlsen is an Australian environmental artist.  In both 2009 and 2010  he was awarded the Swell Sculpture Exhibition Environmental Art Award. He has also written extensively on the topic of the environment and was invited to write an essay for the United Nations Rio+20 conference entitled ‘The Future We Want’. He is now an active ocean conservationist and campaigns against plastic pollution. His art is an outlet for these discarded (and often toxic) plastics left behind in our oceans and proves that marine plastic can become a thing of beauty rather than anguish.

Trashed, Nick Pumphrey

In March 2018, videos surfaced of a British diver swiming in the ocean off Bali. We can hardly forget the densely strewn food wrappers, cups, bottles and carrier bags floating past him as he swam amongst an oceanic wasteland. Fashion and lifestyle photographer, Nick Pumphrey, also demonstrated this in his series titled Trashed. As an ambassador for Take 3, an Australian non-profit charity which support clean oceans, Pumphrey’s series explores the ocean off the coast of Nusa Lembongan, also near Bali. The photographs show manta rays swimming through plastic waste and a model carrying a basket filled with empty water bottles on the surface. Take 3’s latest campaign is called ‘Take 3 for the sea’, which encourages people to take three pieces of rubbish away each time they visit the beach to help reduce the waste on shorelines worldwide.

Drifters, Pam Longobardi

This powerful piece of art was made with over 1000 pieces of plastic found on the beaches of Alaska, Greece, Hawaii, Costa Rica and the Gulf of Mexico. Longobardi began her project, Drifters, in 2006 after being confronted with a mountain of plastic debris on the shores of Hawaii. Her work explores the collision between nature and global consumerism.  Since discovering the marine plastic she has hosted interventions, beach clean-ups and removed thousands of pounds of un-natural material from the natural environment. She is committed to the notion of the ‘conscious ocean’ and has exhibited internationally to critical acclaim.

These artists are but a handful of creatives who are raising awareness about the shocking state of our oceans. By reusing toxic materials which end up in our waters, they are not only helping to reduce waste but also demonstrating that something beautiful can be produced from a seemingly hopeless disaster.


Drifters                                                                                                                 Retrieved from: http://driftersproject.net/about/

Accessed: 28th March 2018

 Take 3                                                                                                                Retrieved from: https://www.take3.org

Accessed: 28th March 2018

 Trashed                                                                                                             Retrieved from: http://www.nickpumphrey.com/Portfolio/T-R-A-S-H-E-D-/

Accessed: 28th March 2018

Dr. John Dahlsen                                                                                                     Retrieved from: http://johndahlsen.com/john-dahlsen-biography/

Accessed: 28th March 2018

Sea Globes                                                                                                         Retrieved from: https://maxliboiron.com/2014/03/23/sea-globes/

Accessed: 28th March 2018

Mandy Barker                                                                                                     Retrieved from: http://mandy-barker.com/about.php?gallNo=1

Accessed: 28th March 2018

'Plastic, plastic, plastic': British diver films sea of rubbish off Bali                       Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/06/plastic-british-diver-films-sea-rubbish-bali-indonesia 

Accessed: 28th March 2018

Plastic Oceans                                                                                                       Retrieved from: https://plasticoceans.org/the-facts/

Accessed: 28th March 2018