At Recipro we are often showcasing great examples of upcycling and reuse of building materials and other products, however, today we have an example of when upcycling can go horribly wrong.
Artist Andrew Vickers noticed a pile of comics resting on the top of a skip and correctly identified that it would be a great shame to let them go to waste. He rescued the comics and went about creating them into a papier mâché sculpture named the ‘paperboy’.
Mr Vickers displayed the statue at the Heroes Exhibition and it was here that the sculpture attracted greater attention, possibly for all the wrong reasons. Comic fan Steve Eyre who initially thought the sculpture looked ‘cool’ spied an Avengers 1st edition on the leg of the creation. Aghast, he scoured the sculpture and found a further six 1st edition comics with a combined value of £20k.
Despite creating the model from vintage comics Mr Vickers put on a brave face even affording himself a laugh at the mistake, ‘I think it is funny. I really love the idea I have created something out of expensive things that makes it worth less. I think it’s brilliant.’
He stated that naturally as the comics were in a skip he had assumed they were worthless, just going to show you never know what you can find – one persons waste truly can be another persons gold.
This is just one case of downcycling, where an attempt to reuse has gone horribly wrong, but I can’t finish without mentioning a story from last year which this example echoed in my mind. In this instance a much revered 19th century religious artwork depicting Jesus with a crown of thorns was subjected to a bit of DIY from an elderly lady who had noticed that the picture had shown signs of damage in a nearby church. What was left made a poor resemblance of the original. What made the story worse was that it emerged later that the church had secured funds to get the painting professionally restored to its former glory. Some things are best left to the professionals it seems.
So whilst we at Recipro strongly encourage and support reuse and upcycling these two stories demonstrate that it’s worth checking that what you start with does not have a greater value than the end product.
As ever we would love to hear about your building material or other upcycling projects, whether they were a success or a failure!
For some more examples of building material upcycling, check out this previous blog.