Bottle caps have taken on an entirely different purpose and form in these creative works by Chicago-based multi-media artist Mary Ellen Croteau. She believes that these little plastic parts, which cannot be recycled, are a major curse on our environment. So, in an attempt to find ways to repurpose the objects which would otherwise be garbage, Croteau began reworking them into portraits and sculptures.
While building her Endless Columns (far below), Croteau became fascinated with how the variously-sized caps could fit snugly inside of each other to create layers of interesting colors. As a result, she was inspired to concoct an 8 feet x 7 feet self-portrait constructed with more than 7,000 plastic caps. She relied on the plastic circles to produce the wide range of color throughout the work and the results are a series of dots that beautifully blend together. She then went on to create two close-ups of incredibly detailed eyes, followed by two landscapes entitled Tsunami and Shells, Oil Spill (also below).
“I firmly believe in the power of the visual, and my work is my voice: a social critique and a visual challenge to all the cultural detritus we are force-fed every day. My art is about looking at things in a slightly different way, and is intended to undermine the status quo with wit and humor.”