The Idea Factory

6 innovative artists using fascinatingly unusual mediums

Paint? Where we're going, we don't need paint.

1. Floating Garden, 2013, by Motoi Yamamoto

Medium: Salt

Yamamoto was born in Hiroshima in 1966 and worked in a shipping yard until 1988. In 1994, after the unexpected death of his sister, he began using salt for his art. He was drawn to its purity, its fragile nature, and how the pieces he creates can't be preserved. "The thought I won't see someone again, even if I wished it, led me to want to see something that cannot be recorded by writing or photography; something at the nucleus of my memory."

2. Anthropomorphism I, 2014, by Freya Jobbins

Medium: Plastics, toy parts.

Jobbins is an Australian artist who creates sculptures of humans from discarded doll and toy parts. Says Jobbins, "I am interested in generating a range of responses to existing cultural objects, which have been placed out of context. The irony of my plastic works is that I take a material that was created to be touched, and I make it untouchable as an artwork."

3. We Were There, 2014, by Nick Gentry

Medium: Film strips, obsolete technology

Gentry is a British artist famous for creating portraits using obsolete technology. Think film, floppy disks, and X-rays. The materials are often donated to him by people who at one time might have assigned immense value to the object, but now no longer need it due to the rate of technological advances.

4. Self Portrait, by Thomas Deininger

Medium: Found objects, unrecyclable detritus

This portrait is wild enough to be lauded in many galleries even if it were only made of paint. But get really close and you'll see that it isn't. It's made of shoes. And broken computers. And extension cords and broken toys and ripped baskets. Deininger doesn't work exclusively in the medium of found objects. He also paints and sculpts with just about every medium available. But his junk sculptures stand out and invite the viewer to question consumer culture and environmental concerns.

5. Tornado, 2007, by Tokujin Yoshioka

Medium: Transparent straws

Yoshioka is a world-renowned installation artist who works in many mediums, from pure light to hundreds of Swarovski crystals (by Swarovski's request). For this installation, which was displayed in Miami, he created a tornado.

6. Adieu, 2013, by Guy Laramée

Medium: Books

While most of the world might just see breathtaking realism and beauty rendered in an original way, Larameé is trying to speak about larger concepts through his art.

Said Larameé: "We 'have to' know what lies inside things. But in doing so, we bury ourselves in the 'about-ness' of our productions — language, function, etc — all things 'about' other things. Ideas about ideas. Art works about art works. We dig and dig and dig, only to find that the inside is like the outside."

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