20 Stunning ‘Litter Bug’ Sculptures Made From Discarded Materials, Created By Mark Oliver

Published 11 months ago

In a world where waste and discarded objects have become increasingly prevalent, UK-based artist Mark Oliver is on a mission to prove that beauty can be found in the most unexpected places. Through his innovative approach to sculpture, Oliver breathes new life into abandoned materials, creating captivating artworks that capture the imagination.

From scrap metal to playing cards, his meticulous assembly techniques give rise to stunning figurines resembling fantastical insects. In an exclusive interview with DeMilked, Oliver shares his inspiration and creative process, shedding light on the significance behind his captivating sculptures. Check out some of his stunning works and read his interview below.

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#1

Image source: Mark Oliver

Oliver’s fascination with creating “Litter Bugs” began during his childhood, sparked by his father’s collection of electrical and mechanical bits and pieces accumulated through his work as an engineer. He reveals, “As a child, I was fascinated by the drawers full of electrical and mechanical bits and pieces that my father accumulated in his work as an engineer. I would assemble them into robots and creatures and took forward into adulthood a love of collagé and assemblagé.”

“This interest in assemblagé was peaked when I attended an exhibition of the work of Joseph Cornell in London and the idea of assembling insects from discarded items hit me like a flash that sent me straight over to the Natural History Museum,” he added.

#2

Image source: Mark Oliver

These sculptures serve a dual purpose. Not only do they showcase Oliver’s artistic talent, but they also highlight the broader ecosystem. The artist says, “According to the World Wildlife Organisation, by the end of the century, up to 40% of the world’s insect species may go extinct owing in large part to habitat loss. The ecological importance of insects cannot be underestimated. I hope, in some small part, by constructing insects from human detritus to draw attention to the plight of insects and our ecosystem.”

With over 1.5 million named insect species, three times more than all other animals combined, Oliver finds endless creative possibilities in replicating these diverse creatures. He believes that by constructing insects from human detritus, he can shed light on the importance of preserving their habitats and the urgent need for environmental conservation.

#3

Image source: Mark Oliver

Oliver’s creative process involves carefully selecting and repurposing found objects. He revealed, “I have accumulated a huge collection of found objects and I plunder these to make abdomens, wings, legs, antennae, and thorax.” With a collection of these objects amassed over the years, the artist has an abundant palette to bring his imaginative visions to life. To date, his largest “Litter Bug” creation was constructed around a large float that had washed up on a beach, adding a touch of grandeur to a solo exhibition in London.

#4

Image source: Mark Oliver

The artist’s lifelong fascination with industrial architecture, mechanics, and robots, all stemmed from his childhood exposure to his father’s hoard of electrical and engineering components. By embracing collage as a recurring form, Oliver layers, glues, and stitches together various materials, creating illusory collages that captivate viewers from a distance and reveal intricate details and humor upon closer inspection. His use of inorganic “found” items creatively mimics delicate organic forms, blurring the line between nature and art.

#5

Image source: Mark Oliver

These stunning “Litter Bugs” have gained international recognition, showcased in various galleries across the UK and beyond. Exhibiting Oliver’s collection together creates a powerful visual impact, akin to a Wunderkabinett, where the bugs and their meticulously crafted stories transport viewers into a world where discarded objects find new purpose.

#6

Image source: Mark Oliver

By repurposing abandoned materials, the artist breathes life into discarded objects, reminding us that even the most overlooked and forgotten items can be transformed into something extraordinary. Through his enchanting “Litter Bugs,” Oliver sheds light on the urgent need for environmental conservation while capturing the imagination of viewers worldwide. His work serves as a powerful testament to the beauty that can be found in the most unexpected places and the limitless possibilities of artistic expression.

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Image source: Mark Oliver

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Image source: Mark Oliver

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Image source: Mark Oliver

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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art, artist, bug sculpture, interview, litter bug sculptures, Mark Oliver, sculpture
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