I’ve been thinking about eco-art again and am fascinated by artists who can turn trash into treasure. One of the most recognized and awarded of these is Australian artist John Dahlsen. Dahlsen studied art at the Victorian College of the Arts and the Melbourne College of Advanced Education, and for many years made his living as an abstract painter.
Dahlsen’s creative medium changed in 1997 after a day of collecting driftwood along the Victorian coastline with the aim of making furniture. It is here where he stumbled upon vast quantities of plastic litter washed up along the shoreline. Dahlsen was so taken in by the new palette of colours and shapes that he gathered up the trash in garbage bags and hauled them to his studio to see what could be done with this new medium.
For over ten years Dahlsen has been creating his environmental assemblage art and has garnered much recognition. He holds regular solo and group exhibitions throughout Australia, Europe, and the United States. In 2000, he won the prestigious Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW and was selected to be a cultural ambassador and represent Australia at the Athens Olympics of the Visual Arts “Artiade” Exhibition 2004.
As for his views on today’s environmental issues Dahlsen says, “making this art has been a way of sharing my messages for the need to care for our environment with a broad audience. I feel that even if just a fraction of the viewing audience were to experience a shift in their awareness and consciousness about the environment and art, through being exposed to this artwork then it would be worth it.”
For more information about Dahlsen’s work visit JohnDahlsen.com.