John Dahlsen‘s environmental art came to my attention via Pinterest. Originally he was a landscape painter in Australia, and as he began collecting driftwood on the coastline to make furniture, he discovered a staggering amount of debris, much of it plastic, washed up on the shore. He collected 80 jumbo trash bags, and as he sorted the items by color, a painter’s palette emerged. Dahlsen found intriguing hues and forms shaped by the wind and sun and water, and began making assemblages, totems and installations. He sees it as alchemy:
My work is in a constant state of evolution. I see this largely as alchemical. It is the process of nature’s elements redefining the man-made that created the initial alchemy in working with these found objects, taking the objects beyond the mundane. The second step was achieved through the transportation of these plastics to my studio and the process of sorting and assembling. A further and more vital transformation took place as I assembled them. These found objects then started to tell their story and become transformed into artworks.