WHEN WASTE BECAME OF TASTE;UPCYCLING WITH FRANCESCA BUSCA

Be careful, that plastic fork you are throwing away may be art!

Photography by Ana Shvets

ART IS THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER, AND FRANCESCA BUSCA IS HANDS OFF AN UNCONVENTIONAL OBSERVER. WE HAD A CHAT WITH HER TO UNDERSTAND MORE ON HOW UPCYCLING CAN CREATE MASTERPIECES.

Words By Alice Cavicchia

Photography by Daria Shvetsova

Francesca Busca describes herself as a rubbish artist and an eco-activist. Passionate about the environment and the arts, she loves to challenge herself by working with mixed media, recycling waste to create unconventional and unique pieces that provoke observer thought. Francesca particularly wants us to really reflect and see the items, and quantity of items, we use and throw away on a daily basis. The ultimate goal therefore is to make us consciously question ourselves when observing her masterpieces, asking: “Am I doing right by our future generations?”.

Asking about Francesca’s key life events, she answers: “My family has always been very eco-oriented, if we can call them so. When I was little we went tree-planting. We cherished the seeds of cherries we ate in a small vase till a tiny plant would grow, and then we would go out looking for a place to plant it. Growing up, for foolishness or society’s pressures, I took my distances from this mindful way of living. However, with my children’s birth, everything changed. You start to feel responsibility for the world you are going to leave them. I came back to my senses, and living a conscious life then became my most profound reason for living.”

As a young adult I stepped into a pretty consumeristic world. Being a lawyer all my life, people would expect me to present myself in a certain manner. Wearing the appropriate dress was crucial, and I had a ton of them. Then, I realised that this was not the environment I belonged to, and that I should have become an artist from day one. I have always thought that work should be something that makes you sweat, that rips you off. Art is not a job simply for beauty and ease. Art is a medium to send a message, it is not only about creating something pleasant for the eye”.

Francesca feels like life gave her a lot. Too much. Now, she stresses it is her time to give back; “I have a small 10 piece wardrobe and I just wear the same pieces all the time”. When she first approached the art world, mosaic caught her eye. After studying at the School for Mosaicist of Friuli (Spilimbergo, PN), she attended Southbank Mosaics in London (UK), later becoming the London Schools of Mosaics, from which Francesca finally graduated. The school was very active in its efforts to produce positive externalities for the surrounding community. However, the raw materials employed in this craft were not zero impact. In that moment, Francesca began to understand her new go-to raw material to minimise her carbon footprint: waste.

Beehive

Forever

“I do not know what came before” says Francesca, “If the will to send a message, or the need to lead concretely by example while sending it”.

We asked Francesca whether she could present us some of her favourite pieces. The first she showed us is called Forever (2018). “The artwork represents a pair of angel wings, completely realised by upcycled plastic. Actimel bottles, milk tabs, polyester cups and Philadelphia cheese’s silver paper are the only materials I used. I have this big wardrobe in my house that is just so full of trash (ed. Francesca smiles). It takes months to gather the materials needed for one piece”. Then, Francesca explains the irony behind this piece: “It is just so crazy to me that there are people out there who believe in everlasting creatures, such as angels, but do not conceive the undying nature of plastics as a monstrous threat to humanity”.

“It is so important that the acquirer of my pieces understands the intrinsic mission within my work”, Francesca explains, “I began to refuse to sell when I realised a buyer was only focusing on the beauty of an art piece, and not on its profound meaning”. The second piece presented is named Beehive (2017). This was her first experiment with plastic caps. The blue glass shreds come from a broken window in Trieste’s hospital. “Finding new shapes into the broken pieces made glasswork exciting”. The whole piece aims to imitate human behaviour, that instead of preserving natural harmony, destroys it and then strives to recreate it artificially, as the Beehive made Francesca realise; “it is the expression of auto irony, isn’t it?”

Forever

Hybrid Cactus – And then it wasn’t (2018)

Hybrid Cactus – And then it wasn’t (2018) is the third and last piece Francesca walks us through. “I am a vegetarian, but my family is not. I decided that the bones from the Easter feast could not go to waste. Thus, I used them to recreate a spinal column, to inspire the viewer to experience a sense of organicity. The work blends together both natural and artificial elements. Indeed, the essence of it concerns the micro-plastic issue, which lays within us and in the natural environment. When leachate is eaten by fishes and we eat those fishes, scientists say that the component is recognised as a hormone by our body, and is assimilated as a part of ourselves. We are still not capable of understanding the impact that plastic may have on us as humans.”

To wrap up our chat we asked Francesca how we could start to approach a more sustainable lifestyle. She suggested we check out a checklist she designed during her “Payment in Kindness” Initiative, a project aimed at pairing up a discount on the sale price of her artworks with small eco-friendly gestures.

Photography
by Taryn Elliott

Photography
by Karolina Grabowska

@cottonbro

Thus, we leave you for now, with 16 Little Things you can try assimilate into a more sustainable lifestyle:


1. Use your own glass/stainless steel cup to get takeaway drinks (ditch disposable cups & lids)

2. Use your own cutlery and metal straws instead of disposable plastic ones

3. Bring your glass to parties and use it instead of a plastic cup

4. Get a bamboo toothbrush (counts as 5 Little Things when you buy it, not when you use it)

5. Email your supermarket to ask for plastic-free packaging (each email to a different supermarket counts!)

5. Email your supermarket to ask for plastic-free packaging (each email to a different supermarket counts!)

6. Say no to a plastic bag when shopping, and use your own bag instead

7. Get a refill for home products and re-use your previous container

8. Repair, mend and repurpose old things in the house (instead of throwing them away and buying new ones)

 

Photography
by Karolina Grabowska

Photography
by Karolina Grabowska

@cottonbro

9. Use beeswax wrap instead of cling film

10. Use solid shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste

11. Use a bamboo toothbrush and dental floss

12. Use fabric sanitary pads

13. Buy/exchange second-hand items

14. Use eco-friendly, biodegradable tape

15. Reuse cardboard/packaging material

16. Use recycled paper and recycled toilet paper

Shop Our Picks for a Sustainable Lifestyle

SO JUST SHOP

Upcycled Tyre Notebook

STAIY MASKS

3-pack – Staiy.positive Mask

SIZ

TOTE BAG SAVE THE WORLD

SO JUST SHOP

Polar Bear Bone China Mug