French artist William Amor turns plastic waste from the streets of Paris or washed off on France’s beaches into beautiful flowers, calling his floral art a small-scale effort to reduce plastic waste.
He started creating the life-like blossoms of all shapes and colours in 2015 to transform daily plastic waste into “eternal” art.
“Each flower is made of a discarded plastic bag, material which I stumble upon, which I clean and sort out and which I will shape. Here (pointing at a flower), we see a piece made of everyday rubbish. Here it’s fishing nets shaped into pearls,” Amor said.
In his studio in central Paris, plastic bottles are turned into cutouts, and plastic bags are turned into sheets pleated and creased to resemble flowers. “In my mind, I treat this material as if it were gold or silk – I have to say that I find it as precious in any case.”
“What happens is when I pick up that mass-market product that has been discarded, I don’t even know what it will become. It’ll be cleaned. It’ll go in my stockroom, where everything is classified according to the nature of the waste,” Amor said.
“This allows me to have a library of materials where I’ll find all sorts of litter, such as plastic bags, fishing nets, cigarette butts, food packaging, but many other things, such as the aluminium found in cans,” he added.
The precise process of creating waste in floral art takes time. He works only on commission and has collaborated with luxury brands such as Dior and Kenzo. He has also exhibited his work in Paris’ prestigious Grand Palais.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), eight million tonnes of plastic waste end up in the world’s oceans yearly, which has many negative impacts on marine life.
Marine animals can become entangled in plastic waste, which can cause injury, disability, and even death. For example, plastic bags can suffocate animals like sea turtles, and plastic rings can entangle and trap animals like seabirds.
They also mistake plastic waste for food and ingest it. Plastic particles can block or damage their digestive system, and toxic chemicals in plastic can accumulate in the tissues of animals over time.