Earth Day: 5 Incredible Examples of Eco Art & Trash Art

Helping the Planet, One Artwork at a Time

Happy Earth Day! Personally, we think Earth deserves more than just a day in its honor—and so do eco artists all over the world! They’re pushing for us to reconsider our relationship with nature, whether through eco art, which is created using natural materials, or trash art or recycled art, which is pretty much just what it sounds like. We’ve gathered a few of our favorites here.


The Lisbon-born artist who calls himself Bordalo II specializes in taking trash and creating large-scale installations of animals. He built this vibrant plastic scarab this month in Terife, one of the Canary Islands. (And yes, his works have included raccoons—aka trash pandas.)

Life’s a Beach

New Zealander David Walter Hilliam grabs a rake, hits the beach at first light, and creates stunning works of art in the sand. Nice work if you can get it!

A Beautiful Bummer

This whale appeared at this year’s Viareggio Carnival, in Italy, which each year includes a parade of stunning, pointedly political floats. Among them was this poor whale…which you’ll notice is covered in and choking on single-use plastic products. Created by artist Robert Venuccii in collaboration with Greenpeace, the whale is even crying, as if the whole thing weren’t sad enough.

Underwater Art

Sculptor Jason Decaires Taylor has created numerous installations, using hundreds of sculptures of people in different situations and positions, all placed underwater. The works are meant to raise awareness of how we treat our oceans and of climate change in general—plus, in time, they’re colonized by sea life, creating miniature reefs and safe havens for living things. And, as you can see from this shot of his piece The Nest in the Gili Islands of Indonesia, they make stunning photo ops.

The Gold Standard

Sculptor and environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy is one of the world’s most famous land artists, and is considered the father of rock balancing. For decades, he has used natural materials to create site-specific installations, many of them fragile and short-lived. “It’s not about art,” he has said. “It’s just about life and the need to understand that a lot of things in life do not last.” Here he oversees the dry-stacking of the first section of 300-foot Walking Wall at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City. The section was completed in March, and starting in May will be “walked,” stone by stone, little by little, to its final, permanent position on the museum’s campus. Its journey will be complete in November 2019.