Cape painter Alvin Mark Schroeder honoured for using recycled plastic for art
Cape Town - An artist from Eerste River has been honoured for using recycled plastic to create paintings.
Alvin Mark Schroeder, who grew up on the Cape Flats, has been collecting plastic bottles and packets dumped in a nearby canal. He then melts the plastic and uses it as paint.
Schroeder said there is a lack of environmental consciousness among those living in his community, and he hopes to influence them to find creative solutions to their daily problems.
“Living the way we do has shown us that we need to work with what we have. I have seen the most amazing work being made from scraps, and these are the real, great artists that don’t get recognised enough,” he said.
Schroeder won a local art competition by CiviNovus, a social organisation in Bellville, in collaboration with the Bellville Wintermark at Ligstad Church in Oakdale, Bellville.
His Hospital Bend, N2 Gateway to Cape Town City, the first of his plastic-painting series of Cape Town, won the "Art out of waste" category.
“For the competition, I started to use the plastic bottles by melting them down with a heat gun into a mould," Schroeder said.
"The mould is made out of a 25mm flat steel iron that is 5mm thick. The steel pieces get screwed or clamped on to a board or table, forming a square shape. The bigger-size canvas gets reinforced with steel wire."
He first sketches his design on paper before transferring the image onto the smooth plastic "canvas".
“When the plastic bottles cool down, I used a grinder to grind down the uneven surface to the thickness of the steel," he said.
"The end result is a smooth, workable surface that I can melt my image on to. Even the plastic bottle labels get used, together with chips packets, for its silver colour."
Schroeder has previously also exhibited in Switzerland and Germany. He would paint and sell his work there, with the countries even influencing his various painting styles.
“The use of plastic helps me with my painting style; it’s all about using less, which I believe is more,” he said.
Schroeder's talent was first recognised while selling Rooibos paintings at various flea and craft markets in the city.
“Being a poor artist means we can’t afford art brushes and oil paint, so using plastic worked perfectly for me," he said.
"We can only manifest with positive thinking."@Sukainaish