TuxedoKat | Puddling Painting

Sculpture

Tree of Life

Up-cycled sculpture in the Charlotte International Arts Festival in 2022

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TuxedoKat | Concord, NC
TuxedoKat | Concord, NC
TuxedoKat | Concord, NC

Blumenthal Performing Art Fellowship Artists:

Upcycle Arts

TuxedoKat

Doyle Bussey

TuxedoKat | Hugh McManaway | Charlotte SHOUT

Tree Materials:

  • Structure: rebar, chicken wire, fiberglass, epoxy
  • Footer: 4 x 8′ reinforced wooden platform weighted down with four 8′ cement-filled PVC pipes.
  • Illumination: 18 LED rope lights in green, purple, pink and blue

Foliage Materials:

  • “Plarn” from bags: Sealed Air (clear), Harris Teeter (brown), Lowe’s and Amazon (gray), Food Lion (blue), Pet Supply (green)
  • Plastic bottle tops, middles, bottoms, caps, & labels (Colored resin added to highlight contours of bottle)
  • Bubble wrap & Amazon bubble packaging
  • Plastic carriers for cans
  • D.O.T. reflective vinyl

Tree Skin Materials:

  • Core #1: Pages from three “Start to Finish” books
  • Core #2: Vintage sheet music from 40s & 50s
  • Core #3: vellum topography and aerial street maps of Charlotte from 70s & 80s

The “Tree of Life”

noun

  1. A tree made from unwanted materials offering fruits of plastic and a new perspective on what is and brings life.

The Meaning

The landfills and oceans are filling up with plastic. Most of this plastic was used only once and then discarded into a system that “takes care” of “trash”. Humanity is conditioned to believe that the only use for a plastic bottle is to deliver a commodity. The “Tree of Life” offers a new perspective to “trash” demonstrating the beauty and functionality of plastic. Bottle bottoms are transformed into flowers while bottle tops create stunning affects with rope lights. Plastic bags of all kinds are transformed into string, connecting the transformed plastic art into the hanging “foliage” of the tree. Participants are invited to touch every part of the tree, sometimes purposefully or accidentally “picking” (or pulling down) one of the hanging foliage – this signifies humanity’s curiosity and desire for the items on the “Tree of Life”. 

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A Process Video

How the “Tree of Life” was made:

A Sexy Video

Close-ups of foliage during day & night:

Final Photos of Tree & Foliage

(Step-by-step build photos below)

Step-by-step build photos:

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Doyle Bussey welded our rebar structure/tree shape which Upcycle Arts & TuxedoKat wrapped in chicken wire

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The chicken wire will be wrapped in a fiberglass and sealed with epoxy. This process adds light-weight structural support in tree limbs.

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Three tree cores received six coats of fiberglass and epoxy before each limb was completely covered.

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An LED test to ensure the glowing feature of the tree limbs

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Plastic bottles are cut, warped with a heat gun, and used on the rope lights.

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Creatively brainstorming different ways to imagine plastic flowers out of recyclable plastics like bottles, bags, etc.

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Colored epoxy was added to bottle bottoms and tops to highlight to beauty in their contouring and shape.

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Finished “foliage” strings were collected and hung.

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Daytime set up to test structure and apply bottles to LED rope lights

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Nighttime set up to test structure and apply bottles to LED rope lights

TuxedoKat | Hugh McManaway | Charlotte SHOUT

15′ Uhaul for transport

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Installation in Romare Bearden Park in Uptown Charlotte

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Participants enjoying the tree!

TuxedoKat | Hugh McManaway | Charlotte SHOUT

Participants enjoying the tree!

TuxedoKat | Hugh McManaway | Charlotte SHOUT

Participants enjoying the tree!

TuxedoKat | Hugh McManaway | Charlotte SHOUT

Participants enjoying the tree!