Junk Assemblage – The Art of Upcycling

Artist Tom Deininger sends out a few assistants every week onto the streets to collect as much ‘trash’ as possible. Discarded objects once destined for the landfill get a new life starring in roles such as, ‘Monet,’ ‘Ansele’s Aspens’ and ‘Fall Foliage.’

Deininger creates idealistic landscapes, self portraits and other snapshots of life using various junk materials. His re-creation of Monet’s Bridge Over A Pond Of Water Lilies is created with plastic forks, phone cords, bottle caps, toys and odd pieces of plastic. “When you can take something out of context and put it together with a variety of other things, you can coax a new definition out of it and maybe a new purpose,” Deininger says.

Deininger has mastered the art of up-cycling by converting old trash into treasure. On a small scale, his artistic contribution minimizes trash from sitting in landfills but on a larger scale, I hope it will inspire us to consider that Americans toss out about 4.5 pounds of trash a day; that’s enough trash every year to circle the equator 300 times.

Monet by Tom Deninger

Monet – detail

Close up detail of Monet

Fall Folliage by Tom Deninger

Detail of ‘Fall Folliage’

Plastic Paradise 10′ x 20′

Ansele’s Aspens

Detail of Ansele’s Aspens shows phone cords, computer wires, etc

Poland Springs 8′ x 8′

Tom Deininger Self Portrait

Tom Deininger Self Portrait, up close detail.

To watch a time lapse of the self portrait process, click here.


32 thoughts on “Junk Assemblage – The Art of Upcycling

  1. Great art! So nice to see someone waste come to good use. My friend and I use to salvage old houses and buildings for plants and whatever else could go in the garden. We found great stuff!

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  3. Idea and work is so inspiring but how sad plastic toys are the number one trash on this art. If the toy producers use wood or other recyclable materials instead of plastic, it will be more healtier for kids and more environmental friendly for world!

  4. I’d have to go along with with you one this subject. Which is not something I usually do! I enjoy reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to speak my mind!

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  6. What thought-provoking stuff! .
    I have already posted a link on my facebook ( and actually an earlier one on my blog) but what I would really like to do is to write a language lesson post based on Tom Deininger’s Money series you reproduce here. I’ll check out his site, but let me know if you would give me the thumbs up, or not..
    Çove your work

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