January, 2017 paul@paulvolker.com
BELOW: A VIEW OF THE INSIDE (click to enlarge)

      2016: Last year, I opened Green Pearl Contemprary Fine Art , a studio/gallery about a half hour's drive from the Atlantic shore. It's a great little storefront in a great little town that has a lively arts community.
     The new space has an eleven foot ceiling, allowing for larger works to be created. Here (left) is a picture of a man at a chessboard. This is painted on a 6ft. x 8ft. sheet of felt recycled from 100% plastic bottles, sold as outdoor carpet. While it's good that materials can be recycled for that purpose, at some point (a local high school graduate pointed out to me) as a rug, it will still some day end up in a landfill. However, by using it in the creation of art, (the same high school graduate pointed out to me) this effectively removes it from the garbage cycle.
      2017: will be a year of more experimentation. While I am still painting humorous works with house paint on plywood, I am also continuing to explore three dimensional concepts and trying to develop new ways of recycling materials that would otherwise go into landfills. I began making functional, artistic BOWLS out of 100% recycled paper, and am continuing with that.
     I also began experimenting with recycling white styrofoam packaging material. Many people are already aware that this material dissolves into a kind of gel when submerged in acetone (nail polish remover), but have not figured out what to do with it beyond that. Recalling, however, that Silly Putty is made by mixing boric acid with silicon, I experimented with great success last fall, adding boric acid powder to the foam/acetone gel. It begins to solidify and can be kneaded into shapes or perhaps injected into a mold. My advanced research on this will have to wait until the weather is warm. Because of the vapors, this is an outdoor project.

(Above) I don't have a title for this, but remember not to take appearances for granite! This 6inch x 7inch x 8inch block of stone is actually made from a combination of recycled packaging foam and paper, and weighs only a few ounces, which is why it can stand on such tiny legs! I look forward to doing more works with this material throughout the year.

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