By Shannon Lane @shannonroselane
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Surveys from the Marine Conservation Society and International Coastal Clean Up have shown that plastics make up a huge percentage of debris found on beaches, both in the UK and many other countries around the world.
This plastic pollution is damaging our planet and is extremely harmful to both humans and wildlife.
Artist, Steve McPherson collects the plastic items washed up on the beaches off the North Kent coast, and is creating hard-hitting artwork.
The Margate local said: “I have always beachcombed on the shores that I grew up on and later this turned into collecting objects primarily for the visual diaries that I kept.”
For around 25 years the 44-year-old artist has been collecting our discarded plastic items, from false teeth, to radio cassettes.
Much like a museum display, Steve feels that it is important to document the plastic items we create and throw away, in order for us to open our eyes to our wasteful society.
He said: “I liken my works to 21st Century archaeology.
“Some of the objects can be dated by type or design. Some are evidence of our growing technology, such as mobile phone parts, and our reliance on this unnatural material.
“These plastic pieces are the material markers of our time, and will stay in the environment for hundreds if not thousands of years.”
Steve organises his findings by theme or their colour, despite being colourblind.
He said: “Due to the fact that I am colour blind anomalies appear – therefore in a blue piece you may find purple, green and grey. In a red piece you may find orange, pink, brown.”
With every piece of plastic that the artist finds, he likes to hypthesise its origin and how it came to be at the beach.
He said: “The false finger nails and false teeth that I find really make you wonder what it was that prompted their loss. You have a direct connection with the unknown person who used and wore them.
“I have found many odd objects on the beach in the past, but really the strangest has to be sex toys.”
Over the past few years Steve has taken further action and has worked with many environmental organisations. His artwork has exhibited around the world in the hopes to spread the awareness of our plastic pollution.
To see more of Steve’s artwork visit: https://www.instagram.com/mcphersonsteve/