By: Dianna Parker, Communications Specialist, NOAA Marine Debris Program
John Dahlsen, an Australian contemporary artist who uses marine debris he finds on local beaches to create art, said in an October 2010 interview that he hopes someday he won’t have material to work with anymore:
“I would be delighted if I could walk along the beaches here and find that there’s just nothing to pick up. That it’s just – it’s not there anymore. Because what that would do is, it would first of all tell me that there’s been a significant shift in mankind’s intelligence and that we have become much more environmentally conscious and that we’re not doing that sort of thing anymore.”
Dahlsen was one of the artists featured in a digital stream of marine debris art displayed at last year’s 5th International Marine Debris Conference. The display, put together by Pam Longobardi of the Drifters Project, featured 27 artists from all over the world who see inspiration in bits of plastic, metal, Styrofoam, and other debris that wash ashore.
Maybe (hopefully) artists won’t have debris to work with someday. Until then, we’ll rely on beautiful images like this to help bring home the message that litter – or, “environmental vandalism,” as Dahlsen calls it – is a very real, very ugly problem.