Hello Urbanmeisters and welcome to our Sunday Special- The Sustainable Art Digest with Offcyclers!
We are very excited to introduce this new column on UrbanMeisters in collaboration with a pioneering start-up in sustainable art and design space- Offcyclers. In each Sunday Art Digest, we will introduce you to hand picked sustainable art projects from around the world. Be it up-cycling or working with sustainable materials, come discover premium sustainable art designs & pieces in this new feature with UrbanMeisters + Offclyclers. But in this first feature we will introduce you to our partners in this project- Offcyclers- an e-gallery for showcasing and selling premium sustainable art from around the world.
Sustainable Art & Offcyclers
« Sustainability » in art has become a growing focus of artists around the globe. One aspect of it is ‘activist’ art that focuses on drawing the public’s attention to issues of ecological importance like depletion of natural resources, pollution, unethical practices in industry, climate change etc. The other part is the growing use of methods like up cycling, recycling and renewable materials to create art & design. There are many artists who have found expression in the use of discarded items or ‘junk’ as we call it, new green materials or even common sustainable ones that one normally doesn’t consider ‘artistic’. They are creating beautiful pieces of art and design form such eco-friendly processes and materials. But this form of art doesn’t get it’s due with no organised space featuring these artists. And this is where comes in Offcyclers– a highly curated platform that promotes the work of professional artisans, designers and artists that work in the realm of sustainable art and design.
Offcyclers was launched in April 2016 by Diego Morodo with the mission to advance sustainability through premium design and art. Diego an off cycler himself, realised that there was no specific place online that curated and showcased only high quality, attractive and sustainable pieces of art or design. This sector was highly unorganised and chaotic as one had to sift through generic upcyling, handicraft and DIY websites that showcased all types of art together- from DIY earrings to thousand dollar art pieces. Another factor was that none of these platforms actually showcased the artist or the story behind the art- most material was generic- so not really explaining why the piece was such high value. And that puts such artists at a severe disadvantage when compared to how elaborately works of other art are showcased and presented. Like artists and designers from mainstream art fields, these artists too normally don’t have the opportunity to have well-crafted websites that enable their sales, and many of them end up disappearing in the ocean of internet options.
Thus Offcyclers was created with a mission to give such art and artists an equal footing and present their works in the manner they deserve. The mission of this platform is to become the first art and design gallery for premium sustainable creations.
But what attracted us to Offcyclers most is our shared vision of breaking the perception around « green » art and fashion being boring, unattractive and unappealing! This is a stereotype that we have been breaking repeatedly for you most especially in the fashion space by showcasing various brands that are proving that eco fashion can be sexy. We also have a monthly eco fashion feature- Tanja’a Eco Chic where we handpick great sustainable fashion brands for you. Off cyclers too is working hard to break this mentality around sustainable art. These are incredibly attractive, pleasing and high quality products and artworks that are just made sustainably and responsibly. And quite frankly that makes them even better in our eyes. Offcyclers takes great care in selecting the best and most unique artists and designers, so customers know that they are buying really high quality pieces that are first of all attractive and of value, but are also as sustainable as they can be.
Heard of UpCycling, Recycling, but what is Offcycling?
An Offcycled piece can be the result of upcycling, recycling or reclaiming materials or objects, as well as using other sustainable methods and techniques. The value of such art pieces and designs only increase with time, as would any iconic piece of art or premium design.
Urbanmeisters, we have showcased up-cycling bag brand M-24 before- making really cool bags out of discarded lorry curtains. We have also featured Hamilton Perkins making sexy travel gear out of 100 % recycled plastic bottles. Now we’re expanding our horizons and yours with a new foray into sustainable art with Offcyclers- a one of it’s kind platform showcasing sustainable art and designs from around the world.
Here’s a complete lowdown on this innovative e-gallery for sustainable art form the founder himself.
Meet the Founder- Diego Morodo
Tell us about you & why you decided to start Offcyclers?
Diego: I’m a 30-year-old entrepreneur, photographer and videographer with severe case of Upcycling geekiness! Ever since I was a kid and I found something thrown away that I deemed useful, I wouldn’t hesitate to take it home and try to give it a second chance. Around 2010 I started making art with reclaimed wood. My passion for giving materials a second chance seemed more crucial when it came to using wood. Knowing a tree has taken years to grow and minutes to be cut down was the perfect motivation.
Sure I wasn’t the next Rodin, but I did get better at my art even managing to sell some of my work through local contacts. The internet seemed the best place to put my work up for sale. While looking for places to sell online, I found many marketplaces but they featured everything in the same place- from cheap DIY products, to the expensive works of established and experienced professional artists. I don’t mean to sound disparaging at all but it really hit me when I found a pair of $6 earrings made with bottle caps right next to a $5000 piece of art made by a prestigious artist. As is the case mostly, the professional artist with the expensive work of art ends up being hurt by this untargeted and non selective exposure. Then there was also no storytelling on the piece- which is a must for any art. It gives the art context and stronger meaning. This was completely lacking- no videos, no photos, no back story at all. I spoke to some more artists and realised we all feel the same. Thus was born the idea for Offcyclers- I set out to create the first curated gallery for sustainable design and art. A place in which one could see and buy only highly curated sustainable art and design, and learn the stories behind each creation and the people who made them.
What is unique about Offcyclers?
Diego: Rise of sustainability is a fact. Every day we hear of new multinationals who are shifting their whole production and processes towards sustainable methods and techniques. Art and design has always spearheaded changes in society, and in this case sustainable art and design can do the same for sustainability and eco-movements. Offcyclers wants to give sustainable art that chance by popularising it in the world.
The sustainable art movement is as dispersed as it can be. There is little knowledge of who these artists really are and where they are. The use of mixed materials has been part of the fine arts for decades, but the use of recycled, upcycled or sustainably-sourced materials is quite new, at least in concept. While it’s no longer uncommon to see such artists featured in trade shows or design magazines, the momentum that these features creates soon vanishes as there is no clear place to find their work. Offcyclers on the other hand provides them with a platform to exhibit their work with complete storytelling and also sell it with ease.
Our featured art is unique because in most cases they are one-of-a-kind. They are all handmade and undergo a process where the reconditioning of the materials makes it an even more laborious process than if it were done with ‘new’ or traditional materials. We are the first dedicated platform curating and selling such premium and high value sustainable art pieces.
How has the journey been & what has been the response?
Diego: Our biggest success is knowing that we’ve created a platform that has strong values and that doesn’t compromise any of them for the sake of selling more. We could start putting lower priced products that could fit into the “sustainable design and art” spheres, but we take our curation process very seriously, and we only select the best of the best. When consumers buy from Offcyclers, they know they are buying directly from the artists and designers themselves. They know that what they are buying is of the highest quality possible, it’s original, it’s handmade, and it’s sustainable. We serve as a quality stamp for sustainable design and art, and that’s the way it should be.
We’ve been getting a good response from the industry and art world too. Collectors have approached us with the intention of representing some of our artists. Lots of interior designers are reaching out to us for special collaborations and it’s something we’re working on now by creating a special Professional Trade area.
Biggest challenge you face?
Diego: To break the dismissive perception that sustainable art is unappealing or just a « junk collection »! Traditionally, sustainability has only been related to ‘green’ consumer mentality, which in most cases meant a compromise on the quality or the aesthetic appeal of these so-called sustainable products. The reality is that this is not always true. There are incredibly attractive, pleasing and high quality products and artworks that are made sustainably, it’s just a matter of finding them and putting the spotlight on them. Then a lot of people don’t know that these products and artworks even exist. Of course nobody looks for a Vespa Chair when they are looking for a new office furniture, so our biggest challenge right now is getting out there in front of people’s faces.
Your future road map & vision for Offcyclers?
Diego: Our mission is to become the first art and design gallery for premium sustainable creations. And we want to serve as a platform for all those independent artists and designers out there that are dedicating their lives to creating really unique and bespoke pieces of sustainable design and art.
Right now we are working in improving our customer service and experience. Our goal is to be able to become the most comprehensive resource for the best sustainable design and art in the world.
We at urbanmeisters.com saw this platform that Diego has created as a great step towards introducing sustainable art and designs to mainstream consumers. We are extremely excited to collaborate with Offcyclers for a monthly feature on sustainable art that will showcase some amazing artists from around the world creating magic from up cycling, recycling and use of green materials! Watch Diego introduce our collaboration for showcasing sustainable art on UrbanMeisters.com.
Proud to announce Sunday Art Digest with Offcyclers on UrbanMeisters that will take you into this new world of green art every 1st Sunday of the month by featuring a sustainable artist, designer or art-house. Read the first month’s feature here. And make sure you visit them on www.offcyclers.com
(Thank you Offcyclers for all images & video content)