Trash Art : From Hard Rubbish to Sculpture

trash art 1
Trash Art Upcycled sculpture
Trash Art Bird sculpture
Trash Art by Georgie Seccull
Trash Art
Trash Art Lyrebird sculpture

Artist Georgie Seccull, Melbourne

Lara Knight – 11 December, 2018

Georgie Seccull’s beautifully detailed installations pop up at events and displays around Australia. 1000 paper roses for the premiere of Beauty & the Beast in Sydney. Floating birds for the new Camilla store in Melbourne. Awards nights, racing marquees, weddings….

In 2015 her first personal installation led to a People’s Choice award, and a solo exhibition.

We asked Georgie a little about the journey from advertising to art.

You started out in advertising but fell into trash art. What drew you towards hands-on creative work?
I had always collected hard rubbish to make furniture out of. I loved all the different ways you could transform someone’s trash into what I considered a one off masterpiece, like an old metal gate that I turned into a hanging display for my belts and jewellery. After 2 years working in advertising I realised that using my creative talents to persuade people that they needed new things all the time didn’t sit right with me. Neither did sitting in an office all day. So I quit. I wanted to make things that mattered. I wanted to make art.

I began by asking a friend if I could make an art installation in her bookshop window that would bring to life her new range of gardening books. I’d had no professional art training so each project in the beginning was an experiment for me. I’d play with different materials, teach myself how to use new tools and find out first hand what worked and what didn’t. Each project taught me new things and over time my art installations grew bigger and grander. Each job was a new challenge, leading me to finding new ways of creating things.

What role have competitions had in growing your trash art practice? 
The first competition I won for my piece ‘Another Earth’ in Gasworks Arts Park ‘From Nature’ exhibition was what lead me from art installation into sculpture. It was the first time I had created a piece just for myself and it lead to my first solo exhibition with the gallery.

The spiders and most of the works above were from that exhibition. They have a very crisp, contemporary look but many of the materials were recycled?
I created the bodies out of wood from a cupboard I found in hard rubbish. The metal rods in the legs are from a kitchen dish rack that I cut up, which I then connected to the wood with wire. Each spider in the series is unique, some have pincers that are made from old forks I collected in op shops, another has an exoskeleton made out of crow bones I found on the side of the road, another with metal studs from an old piece of jewellery.

'Another Earth' Trash Art
'Another Earth' organic sculpture, Georgie Seccull
'Venus Skies' Trash Art
'Venus Skies' installation at the Doncaster Camilla store, Georgie Seccull

You work with both salvaged and new materials. What are the challenges of repurposing?
The thing I love about working with salvaged materials is the inspiration I draw from them. They all have a story, a history, and I think that definitely transcends into the artworks you create with them. The challenge for me is time and storage. For larger artworks it takes a lot of time to collect enough of one specific material and you need a lot of space to store them. Given the cost of inner city studio rent these days I tend mostly now to collect smaller pieces that I can use in my smaller sculptures.

What types of materials do you collect for future work?
Umbrella spokes, utensils, animal bones, paper, wood, machine parts.

You do installations as well as sculpture. What do you like about temporary pieces?
I love the freedom that comes with creating temporary pieces. You can use so many more different materials – like paper, fabric, recycled objects, nature. They usually tend to be more grand and elaborate as well due to the fact that the materials are lighter and more malleable which allow the overall piece to be more expressive.

The internet and social media mean artists can reach a wider audience than ever before. Have you had any wins through online connections?
The internet is an amazing way to share your artwork with the world and often I will get commissions through these channels, but my work has been predominately through word of mouth. I promote my work online but try not to get caught up in the validation of ‘likes’ and ‘followers’. I feel once you become too reliant on other people’s opinions it can begin to dictate your creativity.

Where can people see more of your work?
Instagram @georgieseccull

'Gods and Monsters' Trash Art
'Gods and Monsters', NGV Art of Dining 2016, Georgie Seccull
'Geisha Garden' Trash Art
'Geisha Garden' marquee installation, Georgie Seccull

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