We collectively use about a million plastic bags a minute, a figure that will peak during next week’s holiday rush. As you’re sitting around in a post-Christmas funk next week, consider following the lead of Japanese artist Yuken Teruya, who carves tiny, perfect trees out of the flimsy walls of old shopping bags.
Teruya’s trees are part of a series called Notice – Forest, the latest iteration of which was on view at London’s Pippy Houldsworth Gallery in October. Each bag — Chanel, Godiva, Graff, Maison du Chocolat, Cartier and Tiffany — was tacked up to the gallery’s walls horizontally, revealing a tiny diorama inside.
According to the gallery, the trees were chosen and photographed on the sidewalk of an iconic shopping street — Fifth Avenue, in Manhattan — and then used as models for the cuts. “Teruya’s work provides a subtle commentary on the hegemonic power of consumer culture and its resultant impact on the global environment,” say the curators. “However, the works are fundamentally an exploration of beauty.”
Teruya has applied his knife skills to other mundane objects, ranging from toilet paper rolls to newspapers. In a series called Minding My Own Business, stacks of The New York Times — on the day it reported the 2011 tsunami are also transformed by his knife — are peppered with seedlings that speak to growth and regeneration:
Check out more of Teruya’s work here. Or, you could grab a pen knife and make your own this week — indulge us and drop them in the comments below. [My Amp Goes To 11; Colossal; Pippy Houldsworth Gallery]