Recycling Art Competition 2016

Based on popular vote, the winner of the Recycling Art Competition 2015-16 is Robert Hains for his kinetic sculpture, Pegasus.

Second place was awarded to Will Davy for Captured Fly Drone and third place was awarded to Holly Pepper for Thorn in the Reef.

Voting closed on Thursday 7 July. The ten final artworks were exhibited at The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts until Sunday 17 July.

The artists found their materials in Council’s tip shops and other second-hand stores around the city, and created artworks with their reusable treasures.

This competition explores the creative potential of reusing and recycling household items and furniture, and inspiring others to see the possibility in things that may have otherwise have been thrown away.

Artists and their art

Find out more about the ten final artists, their artwork, their influences and what they made in the 2015-16 Recycling Art Competition.

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2016 winner - Robert Hains - Pegasus

Robert Hains has worked with bronze, metal, fabric and wood in the many years he has been enjoying the creativity of art. When he retired in 2000, he took the opportunity to explore all avenues of art, in particular ornamental wood turning and other wood arts, before venturing into his current work with kinetic sculptures. Robert usually works with manufacturing or recycled products from tip shops, thrift shops, and other recycling outlets.

About the artwork

“Pegasus is surrounded by legends and stories of this beautiful mythical creature. To the Romans, Pegasus was a symbol of immortality. What better subject than to create a wooden kinetic sculpture of a handsome, spirited horse with wings to lift it to heaven.”

Created from a bookcase, school desk, chair and lectern.


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Second place - Will Davy - Captured Fly Drone

As an artist and tinkerer in Brisbane, Will Davy is constantly creating gadgets and toys. Will views every object as having an alternative purpose and this forms a basis for his artworks. He has worked as a product designer and a maker of models, animations and sets for TV commercials, and finds inspiration for continued creativity in Brisbane’s diverse cultural mix.

About the artwork

“Fly Drones scan the globe for hazardous waste. These futuristic machines transmit data to a central processing unit that deploys a robotic task force to break down this waste. The concept is inspired by nature and modelled on an actual fly, the ultimate recycler. I used organic-shaped materials to bring life to discarded items.”

Created from a motorcycle mud guard and cowling, mixing bowls, car headlight protectors, plumbing components, computer boards and fans, printer parts, table tops, a colander and a plinth.


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Third place - Holly Pepper - Thorn in the Reef

Holly Pepper graduated from Curtin University’s School of Design in December 2006 with a major in Product Design, and has practiced as a professional artist in Western Australia and Queensland. Holly is inspired by recycled materials and re-purposing waste materials into beautiful artworks. Holly moved to Brisbane in January 2015 and is excited to connect with artists and to inspire audiences with her creative recycled artwork.

About the artwork

“Queensland’s own Great Barrier Reef ecosystem is currently under threat by a range of environmental issues. ‘Thorn in the Reef’ is my way of expressing concern about the human impact on our fragile ecosystems. Recycled, soft and colourful woollen blankets have been formed into organic patterns creating a spherical coral head. Three menacing crown of thorns invade the coral structures, slowly eating the structure away.”

Created from woollen rugs, coffee bags, knitting needles, second-hand nails, a Webber BBQ, metal lights and more.


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Ann Russell - Tree of life

Ann Russell creates 'other worlds' with poetic bricolage, using found objects that retain some of their original meaning and gain more meaning within their new context. Ann has lived in the Brisbane area for her entire adult life, and feels a deep connection to the land.

About the artwork

“The tree is essential to our existence and our future survival. Sadly, we are still losing trees at an alarming rate in order to facilitate our consumerist lifestyles. This tree, made from the stuff we throw away, highlights the need to retain real trees – because life depends on us doing so.”

Created from a wicker basket, golf clubs, wine glasses, beads, placemats and second-hand balls of yarn.


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Cate Collopy - Plastic Fantastic - Land, Sea, Airship

Cate Collopy has worked in professional practice for nearly 25 years to reuse, upcycle and repurpose. Cate’s artwork has a strong environmental focus that is concerned with waste behaviour and how we value and dispose of materials. 

About the artwork

“My ‘Fantastic Plastic Land, Sea Airship’ is powerful, strong, flexible, colourful, bright and durable. It has successfully penetrated land, sea and air to advance our plastic-dependant lifestyles. This assembly of domestic and industrial discard is all plastic and glue-less with screws and pins to secure the work.”

Created from a microphone stand, kitchen items, a foot pump, a beer keg, computer parts, toys and a wine glass holder.


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Deb Magee - Time Travellers' Tea

Deb Magee is an assemblage potter, sculptor and tinkerer who creates thrown and altered ceramics, assemble 3D sculptures and steampunk delights. She would like to make her recycling a beautiful tactile story of her life, history and the experiences by assembling tactile and functional forms from recycled and found objects.

About the artwork

“Finding this old cabinet from Brisbane’s bygone era was a complete delight. I instantly thought of high teas and tea cocktails enjoyed on the porch of a Queenslander home. For me, tea and steampunk have always gone together for enjoyment and fun. Searching through the tip shops and recycling bits and pieces, I was able to find the perfect harmony to create the Time Travellers’ Tea!”

Created from a second-hand cabinet, tea cups, lamp, wine glasses, bike cogs, compass, clock handles, electrical parts and recycled brass.


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Giuseppe Filardo - Trophy in Waiting

Giuseppe Filardo’s artwork is inspired by his surroundings and especially by found objects, which form an integral part of his work. Giuseppe is influenced by bricolage; a creation from a range of available things and the way several items can be constructed to form something new.

About the artwork

“This piece is inspired by chrome found objects and distorted reflections. A silver deer came to mind at the beginning of this process; however it evolved into an abstract deer with human traits. I wanted to depict a deer with attitude, with his arms crossed casually sitting on a bar stool and in waiting, perhaps waiting for the deer hunting season to begin.”

Created from serving spoons, Christmas decorations, bar stools and a chair, wine rack, music book stand, jugs, trolleys and more.


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Katherine Grocott - Modern Tribal Warrior

Katherine Grocott has been interested in jewellery design since she took it as a minor subject in her fashion degree. Over the years, her commitment to environmental sustainability has influenced Katherine’s design process. Recycled and found objects feature strongly in her work and she tries to source recycled metals as much as possible to create contemporary, minimalist designs with clean lines.

About the artwork

Inspired by indigenous and tribal adornment from around the world, these pieces are a contemporary take on warrior jewellery. Instead of feathers, bone, wood and stone, this warrior wear utilises discarded items of the modern world - magnetic tape, venetian blinds and acrylic rods.


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Michael Vagg - Affordable Hollows of the Urban Understory

Michael Vagg is an artist inspired to work with themes of transition, transformation and narratives that convey hope and determination. Michael works mainly with timber and metal and finds inspiration in recycling materials from the transfer station, as well as ordinary household products. He also finds inspiration in the local natural environment, and uses observations and personal memories in his artwork.

About the artwork

"This mobile city consists of possum and bird boxes, a box for micro bats and a native bee hive. All parts of this city will be recycled at the end of its life by preparing and installing the boxes in urban and semi urban areas to provide hollow nesting sites."

Created from bed head and foot boards, mirror frames, bicycle wheels, shelves and pallets.


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Scott Maxwell - Night Clubbing Fan Club

Scott Maxwell has an arts practice, lifestyle and ethos that are all mixed together. He is a Brisbane-based environmental designer and has been involved in multi-disciplinarian arts activities for over four decades. Scott has designed habitat interpretation trials for education centres to raise the awareness of native flora and fauna, and now facilitates arts workshops for Queensland schools, as well as public workshops using recycled materials.

About the artwork

“This piece is an over-the-top symbol of a fashion-conscious Asian girl wrapped in her own world, ready to hit the Valley on a Friday night. The lively energy of her cocoon-like body, combined the decoration of bling is enhanced by techno music from her head phones. The work uses recreational objects and accessories to encourage the public to think broadly about society and the value of everything we use.”

Created from lanterns, a mop, necklaces, fans, golf clubs, bangles and an umbrella stand.



More information

For more information or enquiries about the competition, email or phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

18 July 2016