Gallery: Astounding Chuck Close-Inspired Recycled Bottle Cap Portrait b...

We've seen some interesting examples of bottle cap art here at Inhabitat, but here's one that blows the others out of the water. Chicago artist Mary Ellen Croteau had been playing with plastic bottle caps, stacking them into long, stringy towers of colors, when she got sidetracked and took her project in a whole new direction. Taking inspiration from Chuck Close's pixelated large-scale portraints, Croteau began combining bottle caps to create new color combinations and formed them in to a giant self-portrait. Astounding, beautiful and incredibly realistic, this bottle cap portrait has raised the bar on recycled eco art.

Croteau considers herself a political artist and she uses her work to make statements and get people to think about things in a different light. By working with recycled bottle caps, Croteau wanted viewers to acknowledge their presence and educate them on how seldom the caps are actually recycled. Her work initially began by stacking the caps and plastic pill bottles into towering and precarious sculptures. Her “endless columns” were inspired by Constantin Brancussi’s iconic modernist sculptures.

While making the columns, she noticed that smaller caps easily nestled inside larger caps, and different colored caps created new color combinations when viewed from afar. This made her think about Chuck Close’s painted portraits and the pixellated way he could create a photo-realistic image with just shapes of color. With this revelation, she got sidetracked and set out to create a large-scale self-portrait completely out of bottle caps. Some of the bottle caps were trimmed to fit into tight spaces, but otherwise paint was only used in the dark shadow areas where the white board showed through. The end result is an 8 x 7 foot piece composed of hundreds of bright bottle caps arranged in a mind bending way to form a replica of her face.

+ Mary Ellen Croteau

Via This is Colossal

Images ©Mary Ellen Croteau


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1 Comment

  1. Sarge7 September 20, 2011 at 9:22 am

    This piece is an exceptional, painstakingly produced show-stopper, no doubt! As a Fine Artist working in the Visual Arts myself, I know the creative juices are difficult to contain once they’ve begun to flow. The passionate dedication to complete such a piece involves alot more than many may know. Congrats to Ms. Mary Ellen Croteau on a world-conscious, labor of love.

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