The Art of Upcyling: Mr Brainwash and More Inspiration

Upcycling is an art. It’s the art of seeing potential in something that seems to be useless.

I have written a D.I.Y. Upcycling post about my little upcycling projects, but last week I went to Mr Brainwash’s exhibition at The Old Sorting Office in New Oxford Street in London and it really inspired me to see everyday objects in a completely new form and environment.

I first saw that there was something going on in New Oxford Street a few weeks ago, the dazzling wall paintings on the corner of the street kept adding up every time I walked past there to go and meet my friends in the West End.

Mr Brainwash’s take on The Queen and The Beatles

It was a pleasure to see more and more images and colours appearing

Inspiring Message and Kate Moss

I told my boyfriend about it and he said “It must be that man’s exhibition, the man who was in the Banksy film we watched”. He was completely right, Mr Brainwash was the street art lover in Banksy’s film “Exit Through the Gift Shop“, a film we watched together the night I made my vegan baguettes, sitting on the carpet together, watching how street artist operate and thinking “wow…..”.

I was really happy I went to the exhibition with my friend last week and breathed in inspiration.

Mickey Mouse made of Coca Cola metal plates

This Mickey Mouse was taller than me! Just nearby there was a massive Darth Vader sculpture made of tyres…!

Michael Jackson Record Portrait

If you look closely not only the hair but also the shirt’s shadows in this portrait are made from whole or fragments of records.

As far as records and CDs are concerned, I only ever thought of reusing them – if scratched and not working properly anymore – as funky coaster or to hang up outside as I once read that their reflection keeps birds away, making it useful if you have a vegetable patch.

I would never have thought of making art with them! This is really motivating.

There were many other vinyl records portraits, I loved Billie Holiday’s…

Mr Brainwash’s Billie Holiday Portrait

and David Bowie

Mr Brainwash’s David Bowie Portrait

Contemporary Madonna Pop Art

In my quest to find more ways to upcycle this exhibition was very stirring, making me realise there aren’t as many limits as we may think when we want to reduce waste and make something beautiful out of something unlikely to be useful.

Mr Brainwash’s work not only provided a most welcome contrasting and stimulating diversion after a hard week at the office, at the end of the exhibition there was a chance to make a donation to Great Ormond Street Hospital and a free poster gift, I chose the “Follow you Dreams” poster.

I have also found inspiration from other blogs: being more sustainable and saving money often go together, and on Miss Thrifty’s blog I found great uses for old maps ideas, using them as wrapping paper, to make lampshades…

After posting my D.I.Y. Upcycling post I received an amazing comment: a very kind reader told me: “I upcycled a disused gold brocade curtain that had been slapped over a junked old fridge at our old flat into my beautiful gold brocade wedding dress”.

I could not believe it, I had to see it! So she very kindly posted a picture of her beautiful upcycled wedding dress on her blog, chrysaliswithaview. Take a look by clicking on her blog name, didn’t she do an astounding job?

Her incredible intuition, motivation, vision and skill enabled her to make something as precious as a wedding dress from something that someone else had carelessly discarded. This is the best example of upcycling I have ever seen! Thank you so much for sharing it!

If everyone made a tiny effort to use their imagination and reuse more and throw away less I’m sure the results would be absolutely worth it, the Earth would be cleaner and its resources under less stress.

There are more upcycling examples on the Crafty Beggars website too.

Do you have any upcycling ideas?

Are you inspired by these examples?

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