While we'd never argue that it takes talent to put paint, pastels or pencil to canvas and turn it into something beautiful, we will take the stance that it takes someone with an especially elevated creative vision to achieve award-winning artistic results with garbage. OK, so maybe not garbgage, per se, but the materials Los Angeles-based artist Mark Bradford uses in his work--from remnants of old billboards found along the street, to the end papers used to perm hair--are about as close as you can get without doing any actual dumpster diving.
Talk about turning trash into treasure.
His medium of choice becomes a lot less random when you consider that: a) he gets much of his inspiration from the streets and neighborhoods in his native Los Angeles, and b) he was a hairdresser for years before he switched gears in order to become an artist in the late '90s. Bradford uses his findings to create layered collages, often in conjunction with paint, that results in pieces that feel abstract from afar but incredibly intricate up close.
For our favorite Bradford piece, White Painting, shown here, he chose to create entirely with scrap paper, collaging layer upon layer, then sanding and scratching them down to reveal hidden colors, images, and textures.