Artists Recycle Lottery Tickets into Stuff They'd Buy

An H3 Hummer built with $39,000 worth of discarded lottery tickets. All photos via Ghost of a Dream.

Each year, millions of lottery tickets are sold to people who dream of winning big -- but the vast majority of the time, those tickets end up being just pricey bits of trash. One recycling artistic team, however, has begun transforming all those losing tickets into something with real value -- the stuff a gambler may have purchased had they won the lottery, or better yet, saved the money. It just goes to show that even trash can teach us all a valuable lesson about the things we dream of.The lottery ticket creations were sculpted by artists Lauren Was and Adam Eckstrom, for their exhibition Ghost of a Dream. According to Yatzer, the two graduates from the Rhode Island School of Design began recycling discarded lottery tickets into art because of the emotional significance they represent. So many dreams once rode on the potential that each lottery ticket could be a winner -- but in most cases, and almost immediately, they become completely worthless.

Detail from "Dream Car."

The artists explain their inspiration to recycle the tickets into art:

We started to collect tons and tons and talk about what people dream about when they play the lottery. Then we did some serious research to find out what people buy when they do win the lottery. Through our research we found that most people, after they win the lottery, the first thing they do is buy a car.

"Dream Home" was built with $70,000 worth of discarded lottery tickets.

With most of their pieces, the artists choose to use the same number of lottery tickets as the item might be worth. To build the sculpture "Dream Car" seen above, the artists used $39,000 worth of losing tickets -- hinting at the fact that had the money been spent more wisely than on scratchers, the gambler's dream car could actually be a reality.

Luxurious houses, vacations, and other items gamblers may long for are all represented at the "Ghost of a Dream" exhibit -- all things they might have purchased if they had saved their money instead of buying lottery tickets.

"Dream Vacation" was built with $29,000 worth of discarded lottery tickets.

From a recycling perspective, the themes of the exhibit go far beyond the waste produced by lottery tickets. In a society built on consumerism, an untold number of purchases are made with the hope that such things will bring happiness, while studies show that the emotion is actually much more accessible than material goods.

Indeed, some of the most priceless things cost nothing at all -- like teaching a valuable lesson about dreams with the discarded remnants of so many of them.

Detail of "Dream Vacation."
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Tags: Artists | Arts | Exhibits | Recycling