Seattle artist Chris Jordan is well known for creating large-scale works depicting mass consumption and waste. Like most people, we first heard about him via "Midway, Message From The Gyre," his Prix Pictet-nominated photo series showing the deadly effects of oceanic plastic pollution on baby albatrosses.
We're new to his ongoing "Running the Numbers" series, in which he recreates historic artworks using consumer detritus. For "Gyre," the artwork in question was the famous Hokusai woodcut, "The Great Wave off Kanawaga."
For "Gyre," I got the plastic from the lab of a marine scientist. I had been interested in the Pacific Gyre for a while because I have friends who actively pursue the issue of plastic in the ocean. I started photographing the plastic pieces, thought about what to do with them, and then looked at different seascape paintings... I liked Hokusai’s painting because of the hidden yin and yang symbol which also symbolises the power of the ocean and the smallness and lack of power of man. Also, the painting is similar to a map of the Pacific Gyre, which is located halfway between Japan and the U.S., the two main polluters of the ocean who need to come to a dialogue about the issue.