Artists who get creative with so-called "junk" never cease to fascinate us here at TreeHugger, and Milan-based artist Andrea Petrachi (a.k.a. Himatic) serves up some pretty eccentric specimens that are worthy of our attention. Using discarded electronic components, household items and toys, Petrachi creates quirky, pop-cultish sculptures reminiscent of Giant Robot-style figurines that could be a collector's dream -- but cobbled from everyday items rather than slick plastic.
With names like 'Slimchemist', 'Bug_Boy Gregor' and 'Octophile', Petrachi's sculptures meet somewhere between high-tech and kitsch, and his choice of materials seems to combine a child's playfulness with the tinkerer's love for disassembly and gadgetry. Generally, most of the pieces are actually small, but when seen up close, they seem larger than life, like these beautiful pieces made with old microscopes:
But it's not just about fitting together ordinary objects to create something totally unexpected. At the same time, Petrachi seeks to convey a message about relentless consumerism behind his work:
Himatic sees his work as a symbol of our out-of-control desire to buy things, a celebration of the human desire to challenge nature through technology.
It's a recurrent theme: with electronic waste being an enormous problem that knows no borders (1.9 million tons of e-waste were landfilled in 2007 in the United States alone, with many more tons being exported to developing nations), it's an issue that is hard to wrap one's head around.
But with creative approaches like Petrachi's, what is at first an abstract predicament becomes focused and understandable, and even approachable.
Whatever the message, it's clear that there's still a sense of humorous play in Himatic's work that draws people in. It's unpretentious and great fun to see more and more artists turning to so-called 'trash' to find inspiration and getting us to look at an environmental problem with fresh eyes.
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