It’s Your Year to Make a Difference

Recycled Couch - 100% Upcycled/recycled artwork by Robert Slivchak

No matter what your battle or goal is, I hope what I’m doing and my passion is relatable and resonates with you in some positive way by helping you achieve your own goals or at the least, getting you on your way.

At the end of every year I look at my failures, my accomplishments and ways to improve who I am to get closer to who I want to be. I find the phrase “New year resolution” cliché and the words of these resolutions void of actual worth, because they’re often forgotten or just fluff that’s intended to give you that instant feeling of self-gratification. We have all done this and continue to do it, it’s human nature, but how about this year do something impactful. Do something that will actually make a difference to more people or at the least back someone that is trying to. Would it not feel awesome at the end of the year to say “I advocated change in my community” or “I supported that incredible cause that benefited so many people, the planet and future generations!”? If there’s something that really upsets you, take that anger and turn it into passion for creating change. This year it’s time to say “enough is enough” and put my words into action.

Early in my artist career I realized that creating plastic waste while creating my works, plainly put, sucks. I stopped purchasing cello-wrapped prebuilt frames and virgin paints. I started building my own frames from reclaimed wood, and formed a partnership with a paint recycler as well as only use paint that has been discarded. If I can find ways to reduce my impact on the environment by not purchasing “use once” plastics and see value in the remaining unavoidable plastics, why can’t you? Why can’t companies? Why can’t governments? Sadly, the main reason is cost (recycling, energy, manufacturing, shipping weights, to name a few), second to a lot of people not caring or understanding the impacts their individual decisions have on the environment. With our refusal to take responsibility of the cost of managing our plastic waste, we’re sadly forcing our planet to absorb it and it’s had enough. I realize that my waste prevention initiative has a minimal direct impact on the amount of societal produced plastic waste, though I want the message of my work to be a reminder to everyone that views it. The more that do, the more people will work together to force change and that’s powerful. You can find my first recycled art project here.

We need to change our mindset and purchasing habits and in time the plastic crisis will no longer exist. We can’t do anything about the past, other than clean up our mess, but right now we have the chance and choice to make the future better. Think about the planet when you buy that disposable cup of coffee or bottle of water. Do these containers/lids actually get recycled? Are they made out of plant based biodegradable materials? Where will this material end up? If you answer no, or don’t know the answer to any of these questions, don’t make the purchase. Carry reusable containers. Start a creative initiative in your community. Find ways to make plastic waste a plastic resource. Demand that non-essential plastic products are manufactured out of post-consumer plastic, not virgin polymers. You’ve been served an opportunity to make the world better, so take advantage of it.

I’m currently working on new ways to develop my work using one hundred percent recycled and up-cycled materials including, you guessed it, plastic. It’s a continuous goal of mine to be one hundred percent waste free. The more support I have, the sooner I can reach that goal and start/contribute to other initiatives that benefit our planet. Visit my site often for updates. If you have any questions, I would love to hear from you.