Rubbish Art Book: Old Trafford residents create drawings and pictures of waste to highlight issue of litter

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The book has been created by two artists who held a series of workshops with local residents.

Trafford residents have quite literally created a Rubbish Art Book by turning litter into drawings and paintings.

The volume is an unusual way of drawing attention to the problem of littering and has been created by a community arts group.

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Residents took part in workshops and brought along rubbish that had been dropped on the streets before turning it into art.

Participants in the project say they hope the book will make people think twice about not putting litter in a bin or taking it home.

What is the Rubbish Art Book and how was it created?

The Rubbish Art Book is being launched by OT Creative Space, a community arts group and studio based in the Old Trafford area, and was devised as a project by artists Liz Lock and Mishka Henner,

They wanted to highlight the problem of litter dropping in the Old Trafford community but wanted an innovative and eye-catching approach to get people thinking about the issue.

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The result was a series of workshops which have now led to the creation of the Rubbish Art Book, a 200-page glossy volume featuring more than 100 works of art which may feature litter but are certainly anything but trash.

‘Rubbish art’ on display at OT Creative Space‘Rubbish art’ on display at OT Creative Space
‘Rubbish art’ on display at OT Creative Space | OT Creative Space

The book is now being launched on Saturday (4 June) as part of the Ayres Road Festival.

There will be indoor and outdoor exhibitions of the original art, with festivalgoers encouraged to identify items of rubbish art that have been placed throughout the site.

The workshops which went into creating the Rubbish Art Book attracted artists of all ages and skill levels. Participants were invited to bring the rubbish they found on the streets on their way to the workshops, with Mishka and Liz providing a series of drawing exercises to help find a way to represent the litter using techniques including pencil, charcoal, watercolors and crayon.

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What has been said about the project?

Mishka, who is originally from Belgium but now lives in Old Trafford and has had work exhibited at galleries around the world, said that while the project may involve drawing or painting litter it certainly does not mean that the area is a rubbish place to live.

He said: “We love it here and hope that the skills and talents of our fellow residents and neighbours shown on the pages of the book help people think twice about littering.

“These days, the council and Amey seem to react quickest when you tweet about them. And although books are a slower form of communication, they’re permanent in a way tweets aren’t. So we’re keen to see how our book will circulate in the community.

“As residents of Old Trafford, we wanted to find a way to talk about rubbish without resorting to the usual complaints or rants. Instead, we wanted to use art as a tool for reflection and for bringing people together.

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““I’m always trying to find more engaging ways of using art to describe or reflect on cultural and social issues. It doesn’t matter how skillful you are or how well you can handle paint or a pencil.

“What matters is simply taking the time to make marks on paper, discuss whatever’s on your mind with strangers and friends, and enjoy the process of making and reflecting.”

Lynda Sterling, the founder of OT Creative Space, with the Rubbish Book of ArtLynda Sterling, the founder of OT Creative Space, with the Rubbish Book of Art
Lynda Sterling, the founder of OT Creative Space, with the Rubbish Book of Art | OT Creative Space

Sally Hirst, from Old Trafford, created several pieces including one which used a child’s discarded drawing she found in the street.

“Even though the child clearly thought their drawing was rubbish, I saw the beauty of it from the crunched-up texture to the way it was folded and the colours used,” she said.

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“The workshop helped me see the beauty in everything – even rubbish! Everything has a worth, and every piece of rubbish tells a story.”

Fellow local resident Ravinder Virdee said: “It was truly inspiring to create art using rubbish. Who would have thought such beauty could be found in litter?”

Ravinder Virdee with the bookRavinder Virdee with the book
Ravinder Virdee with the book | OT Creative Space

OT Creative Space founder and visual artist Lynda Sterling, who received funding from Arts Council England for the project, said: “The work that Mishka and Liz do is perfectly aligned with what we’re passionate about: bringing art to the community and using it as a tool to highlight issues.

“The rubbish life drawing classes they developed for the project fitted perfectly with our mission as a community creative space. Their vision for a book took it one step further and has given the community something we can enjoy on a more permanent basis.”

Can I get hold of a copy of the Rubbish Art Book?

The Rubbish Art Book is available from 4 June to buy from the OT Creative Space. It costs £5.

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