Shoplet Loves Upcycling #3 – Yuken Teruya

Born in Okinawa, Japan, Yuken Teruya is a New York City based artist. With seemingly meaningless materials, like shopping bags, McDonald’s take-out boxes and toilet paper rolls, Teruya cuts out intricately detailed trees, planting, it appears, a quiet, yet stunning, paper forest of sorts.

I can go on and on about how much I love the complexity of Teruya’s work. How, for instance, after examining the lonely, yet, potentially hopeful, shadows that each unique paper tree casts, one is reminded of a living, authentic tree being processed into a paper bag or toilet paper roll, then lovingly recycled by Teruya into an artificial depiction of a tree– a watered-down version of the real, breathing thing. I’m fascinated by how his work communicates the weird paradox of how painful destruction can produce beauty.

“It is as if I am helping the paper awaken its ability to come to life,” Teruya describes of “Corner Forest” on his website.

Aside from how Teruya’s “Corner Forest” transports audiences into the long process of artistic creation, “Corner Forest” also educates audiences of the value in recognizing the possibility of renewal. Even the slightest, most unlikely objects and spaces, like the overlooked “corners” of any random location, are capable of generating some magnitude of awe. My point being that, while it’s easy to toss aside what looks like trash, it’s also worthwhile to consider the depth of artistic or practical value that each parcel of trash might withhold. (…Ahem, this is a 101 lesson on upcycling!).

At Shoplet, we really value eco-friendly projects. The less waste we produce, the wider our planet grins. Those who upcycle relieve our landfills just a wee-little bit more– and every bit of difference counts. Shopping green helps, too.

Without much further ado, Yuken Teruya:

Tory Burch bag

This piece was made out of a Tory Burch bag!

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