Bringing an idea to life takes innovation, passion and a whole lot of patience. What’s more powerful is if the creation brings people to another world for just a moment and sparks a new notion in the viewers. None other than Benjamin Von Wong is doing it as we speak. The Canadian-born artist is a big advocate for Ocean Plastics and has been creating art pieces to bring awareness to the most critical issue faced today — Pollution. Known for his environmental art installations and hyper-realist art style, he recently launched a new campaign, Turn Off The Plastic Tap. Jejune got the opportunity to converse with Von Wong to learn more about his creative endeavors and mission to make positive impacts unforgettable. ..
As an artist promulgating for the environment, Benjamin has been continuously pushing his own boundaries to bring a creative twist to the lackadaisical attention of plastic pollution in his artworks. After a long-awaited few months since our first point of contact, Benjamin launched a thought-provoking yet mesmerizing art campaign, Turn Off The Plastic Tap. Benjamin tells us: “A common phrase in the plastics world says that we must Turn Off The Plastic Tap. They mean that we need to go straight to the source and start restricting plastic production rather than focus our attention downstream on recycling and cleanups. My goal was to create a visual symbol for that phrase. So why NOT make a giant levitating faucet to highlight the issue?”
The installation is of a giant levitating tap expelling out 30 feet of plastic. Benjamin explained, “I think the levitating faucet adds a touch of magic, wonder and curiosity to an otherwise very serious and sad topic.” Turn Off The Plastic Tap shows all telltale signs of Benjamin’s passion and earnest plea to save the environment. Every element embodies the spirit of reuse, from creating the giant faucet from scavenged pieces of ventilation ducts to threading plastics together using ropes made from used plastic bottles.
In juxtaposition to his previous work on raising awareness for individual objects, this campaign takes on a new approach by targeting the root cause of the problem — Plastic Production. Since the pandemic, single-use plastic consumption has gone up by 250-300%. He hopes the installation will give rise to a start of something new by pressuring world leaders to discuss and devise a global plastic treaty in the next United Nations Environmental Assembly happening in February 2022. “It just launched! The goal is for it to spark conversation and trigger action!”
Interestingly, Benjamin started out as an engineer before pursuing a career in the arts. The dexterous artist worked mainly on fantasy artwork for the earlier half of his career before finding his voice. “In 2016, I decided to do work that had more meaning and purpose behind it. I started watching different documentaries and slowly started experimenting with other concepts. The more I learned about environmental issues, the more involved I became. Eventually, I started combining the fantasy world with the sustainability world, and voila!”
Behind all the enthralling artwork, every piece is laced with his assiduousness. Each idea brought to life was from a thoughtful and meticulous creative process. “I think of myself as a designer. I spend a lot of time understanding the problem, seeing what hasn’t been done, and trying to make the art I create as relevant as possible. The inspiration comes from having long conversations with people that are trying to solve the problem…”
– Benjamin Von Wong
in Collaboration with the Canadian Embassy in France