Before tackling plastic as a preferred medium, artist Jane Perkins worked in textiles, and wrote her thesis on Art and Design from Recycled Materials. Several years of hard work and 40 exhibitions later, Perkins has settled into her signature “Plastic Classics” style: re-working portraits and artwork in one of the most ingenious recycling methods we’ve seen yet.
Without adding any additional color to her pieces, she uses found objects to bring to life the subjects of her artistry, each of which can take weeks to complete. These images present themselves and should be viewed in two different ways.
From a distance, one can easily recognize the person or subject matter. But once the viewer steps closer, the artwork loses its mimetic properties and becomes an abstract arrangement of found objects.
Inspired by some extraordinary religious headdresses from Ecuador, Perkins began exploring this method in 2005, but on a much smaller scale. Perkins would create hand-stitched brooches from small pieces of jewelry, shells and coins, often incorporating broken trinkets and childhood toys her clients couldn’t bear to part with. Some of these brooches were mounted on wood to be hung as wall (rather than wearable) art.
While fashioning these elaborate accessories, Perkins came across many fantastic items that were too large to put on a brooch. After writing her thesis, the idea of combining the bigger pieces together to form a larger picture came to her suddenly, and right away she started compiling them into a Matisse portrait, Portrait with Green Stripe.