From Throwaway Plastic Debris to Work of Art

How many times have walked around your park, neighborhood, beach, school, or outside and looked at the litter left by others? Did you shake your head in disbelief or disgust? Did you curse? How about pick it up and properly dispose of it? I’m guilty of all of the above. In fact, I have even made my kids pick up litter, as an example of taking better care of the world they live in—they’ve rolled their eyes at my fanaticism but they will thank me later.

However, one thing I’ve never done is pick-up litter to be used for an art project. That is hardcore in my book—and this is coming from someone who owns a copy of the Scavenger’s Manifesto and tries to follow it whenever possible. But for Claudio Garzon, it is all about creating the next piece of steam punk marine art, and using the art to educate people about the problems with plastic in our marine environment.

What is Steampunk art? Steampunk art is a genre that incorporates elements of science fiction and fantasy into art pieces, by using lots of metal and electronic materials. However, in Claudio’s artwork, most if not all the materials used by him are plastic bits and pieces he has found in his neighborhood and or at the beach. Instead of simply throwing out the plastic he picks up, he has designed a way to creatively re-use the plastic debris he finds. “Many of us, who live near the oceans, or any body of water for that matter, know that plastic products are one of the top forms of pollution found in these areas,” Claudio says.   

His PlasTiko-Bots Marine series is made from the very same plastic pollution that litters our lakes, oceans and rivers. Three months ago, Claudio made a Steampunk shark for Heal the Bay that consisted of plastic material he had found in the Los Angeles River. 

Claudio recently launched the Sea Turtle Guardian Project, with proceeds from the sales of these custom baby sea turtle sculptures going to Heal the Bay.

Check out Claudio’s work on his Facebook page: PlasTiko-Bots.

Curious how much debris Heal the Bay volunteers find on our beaches? Use our Marine Debris Database.

Be part of the solution: Join us for a cleanup. And bring your kids!

— James Alamillo

Urban Programs Manager