Over the course of two years, Chicago based artist Mary Ellen Croteau collected recycled plastic bottle caps to tile, layer and juxtapose each cap in order to create a self-portrait mosaic titled, CLOSE. While experimenting and working on another project with the recycled bottle caps, Croteau found that some bottle caps fit in each other creating circles of “paint” that reminded her of Chuck Close’s circles of paint.
The 8′ x 7′ x 4″ work of art holds about 7,000 unpainted plastic bottle caps.
Croteau has been passionate about ecology issues over the past several years, in which she speaks through her creations:
What to do with all the plastic waste we are creating? It is made from petroleum.
It doesn’t compost or decompose. And these bags and caps are not recycled
no matter what they tell you – that is too costly. So I make art with them.
I have asked friends and family to collaborate by contributing their plastic bags and caps to the projects,
and this allows them to think about and quantify their contributions to the waste stream in consumer culture.