The whole "turning garbage into art" thing always reminds me of an MFA student's third-year thesis project, and while I still enjoy a good "things organized neatly" variation, the concept has started to feel a bit twee. And yet, New York artist Barry Rosenthal has executed a combo of the two ideas so well in his series Found in Nature, I thought it deserved some internet love on the West Coast.
Barry collects trash from NY beaches, narrowing down the harvest by theme or color, and arranges them into strikingly simple compositions. The results are both really cool and really sad to look at. He explained in an interview with Feature Shoot that he started out merely attracted to "lost" objects, without the intention to make a political statement, but that the process has taught him that "plastic is forever." By showing (pretty beautifully in my opinion), what is already in the environment, he hopes to further the visibility of ocean-borne pollution.
Even a famously "green" city like San Francisco can use a pretty (/ugly) reminder about garbage, and seeing our everyday objects gridded out in their dirty, discarded states is a good one. Looking at these images, October's plastic water bottle ban can't come soon enough.