The beauty of art is that it can be created by anyone with anything. While traditional mediums like paint, charcoal, and pencil are certainly popular, there are a wide variety of unconventional materials out there that can make wonderful art pieces as well. The type of medium you choose for your work can send a unique and thought-provoking message, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box!
Recycled Art Made from Junk
One of the latest trends in unconventional art is recycled art made from materials that would otherwise be considered junk or trash. Something as simple as a collage made from scraps of magazines to a project as complex as sculpture made from scrap metal can make for some very unique works of art.
Not only do these pieces offer a pleasing aesthetic affect but the materials used for the piece can add to the dialogue of the work. For example, one artist named Erika Iris Simmons creates portraits of music icons using the tape from old cassette tapes. Another example is a piece called What Came First by Kyle Bean who constructed a sculpture of a chicken out of broken egg shells.
Using Standard Materials in a New Way
Not only can you create unique works of art by using unconventional materials, but many artists make it their mission to use standard materials in a new and interesting way. For example, artist Herb Williams uses crayons as the medium to create large sculptures – he uses the whole crayon, sometimes melting them down, as the physical materials for his work instead of just drawing with them on paper.
A more classical example you might be reminded of is Jackson Pollock, an abstract expressionist who dripped and poured paint onto the canvas instead of brushing it on. Other artists have used their own bodies as the paintbrush, applying paint to canvas using their feet, hands, or even their hair.
Unconventional Tools for Art Pieces
A third way that you might incorporate unconventional materials into your artwork may be to use standard mediums but apply them using unconventional tools. For example, Amy Shackleton, a Canadian artist, has gained a lot of attention for creating vibrant, colorful scenes by squeezing paint out of a bottle. Artist Mike Bernard applies paint to canvas using a piece of cardboard instead of a palette knife to create hard-edged areas of color on canvas.
Another interesting way to use conventional materials with unconventional tools is the example of artist Michelle Brown. Brown applies paint to paper not by using brushes – she actually presses the paper into blobs of paint and then uses the paper to transfer the paint to canvas.
Artist Sophie Munns uses paint-covered string to create painted lines on canvas and contemporary painter Fabiennne Verdier applies paint to canvas using a paint-covered mop. Unconventional tools can be used not only for paint but for charcoal and colored pencils as well.
Take for example the artist Eske Rex who built a drawing machine that incorporates the concept of mechanical application as inspiration for creative output. Joseph Griffiths had a similar idea, creating a drawing machine using bicycle parts to direct the movement of colored markers against a white wall.
No matter what kind of art you are interested in, there are unlimited ways that you can make your work completely unique just by switching things up a little bit.
Try experimenting with new tools for the application of your preferred medium or think about using reclaimed or recycled materials in a new way. Your project may not turn out exactly as you planned, but it will certainly be unique and that is all any artist can ask for.