From Waste to Ocean to Art

All of these dedicated, talented artists have one thing in common: they are turning plastic pollution into an art so sublime and beautiful, it’s hard to remember their chosen plastic medium. Educators, activists, and artists (and many who share the same titles) have produced statues, portraits, installations, and everything in between to create what I like to call “activism,” or rather activism through art, that forces laypeople to ask the right questions.

The Washed up Series by Alejandro Durán 

Alejandro Durán is originally from Mexico City where he developed his love for multimedia arts.  He produces photographs with plastic installed in nature– but in a more deliberate, thought-provoking was and less natural and haphazard. The Washed Up series aims to “reveal the pervasive impact of consumer culture on the natural world” and “the fraught intersections of man and nature.” On his website, he encourages fans of his work to keep informed on the issue of plastic pollution and to make changes in their lives to reduce their impact on the environment.



Tess Felix: Ocean Eco Heroes

Tess Felix uses plastic debris to create portraits of plastic pollution activists who are fighting against the issue and system. She notes that, “The contrast between the humanity of the figures and the plastic materials they are made of suggests that we are part of and responsible for the problem we have created.” This portrait is of Beth Terry, author of My Plastic Free Life.


Washed Ashore

Washed Ashore art activism is less artist and more education– but don’t let that fool you. Together Washed Ashore molds plastic debris into stunning sculptures like this 3D fish. But this organization doesn’t just stop at art: NOAA’s marine debris blog notes that.
“washed Ashore will incorporate visual art, theatre, movement, and creative writing. These tools will help convey powerful messaging and communications on the topic and engage students in a meaningful way raising awareness about this issue.”



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