Pop Art meets upcycled bottle caps. Mike Valle, aka Recapsart, gives metal bottle caps a second life. His unique vision has led him to create some of the most unique art we’ve ever found, upcycled bottle cap art that is. Today we interview Mike so he can tell us a bit more about his art, and what inspired him to create such innovative pieces that bring Pop Art into the sustainable art world.
Can you tell us your story ? How did it you start making art with bottle caps?
It all started when I began saving bottle caps about 15 years ago. Attracted to the variety of colors and designs they came in, I wanted to do something with them, but had no idea what. As time passed and the pile got bigger, I realized how quickly they could be accumulated, and knew there had to be another use for them rather than taking up space in the trash.
About 6 years ago, after seeing images of the coffee Mona Lisa created in Sydney, Australia, I was inspired, and challenged myself to use the bottle caps as a colorful medium to create my own version of the world famous painting. From there, other pieces were created, and caps continue to accumulate from friends and family. Now even some local bars and restaurants help fuel my work.
What started out as a personal challenge, quickly became a hobby. As my work has evolved, the process has changed slightly but the end result is always the recreation of an image using a material most others consider trash.
See the video of the Coffee Mona Lisa that inspired Mike to start making his upcycled bottle cap art.
Can you explain us a bit what your production process looks like?
My process has changed a bit from how the original method I used to use to how I do things now. Currently, once I’ve selected my subject, and mapped it out on paper, I begin arranging it with bottle caps on a large table. Adjusting the details, refining the colors and making sure it’s laid out perfectly takes some time. Once it’s perfect, I begin punching the cap faces out one by one, flattening them, and getting them all in order. Once all the caps are prepped, I glue them down, and the piece is complete.
What are the challenges that you face when creating your upcycled bottle cap art?
With each piece, the initial challenge is always figuring out the best scale to create my work at. If I don’t make it large enough, I can’t get enough detail into the image to make it identifiable, but if I make it too large, it becomes awkward, and hard to handle. From there, the next challenge is figuring out the best caps/colors to use for each piece.
On the hands of who would you like your Upcycled art and products to end up?
I don’t think there is any one answer to this. Each piece is different and may appeal to different groups. However, I certainly think being a fan of beer helps people appreciate my work! (laughs).
What is the future of your Upcycled Art? What are you working on at the moment?
I feel like it’s all up from here! Right now I’m working on a custom commissioned piece, a sports team logo that a wife has ordered for her husband as an anniversary gift.