Maybe you’ve got a painting you’ve inherited that doesn’t quite suit your aesthetic. Or perhaps you just picked up a piece in an op shop that has a bit of unfulfilled potential. Whatever the reason, if you have an unloved or not-quite-right artwork lying around your house, The Other Art Fair’s got you sorted for a revamp.

Upcycle Art is a cool idea that sees local artists reimagine existing artworks for $100. It’s happening as part of the four-day Other Art Fair Sydney, which will showcase the work of 120 emerging artists from Australia and abroad. All you need to do is take your piece with you when you visit the event.

And we’re not talking about obscure, unknown artists either. Janet Laurence – whose exhibition After Nature is currently drawing crowds at the MCA – is taking part, as is sculptor Camie Lyons, paper artist James Gordon and Jennifer Keeler-Milne, who makes oil paintings and large-scale oil drawings.

Complete our survey for the chance to win a $1000 Broadsheet Gift Card.


Upcycle Art is part of the Other Art Fair’s Greener Future campaign, which includes a program of events, initiatives and exhibitions at each of its fairs around the world (including London, LA and New York) that highlight climate change and encourage art and ideas that are environmentally friendly.

Kate Bryan, a British art historian, curator and broadcaster who’s also head of collections for members' club and hotel chain Soho House, is the global curator of the program. She’s the mastermind who assembled the respected Australian artists who’ll be participating in Upcycle Art.

“There are a lot of recycling initiatives all over the world for all types of waste, but there’s still more that can be done to help reduce the volume of landfill humans produce each year,” upcycling artist Alan Jones tells Broadsheet.

“Upcycle Art is a brilliant concept and important initiative because it goes a long way [towards] promoting the significance of recycling in today’s consumer-driven society. Upcycle Art will also actively help bring down the volume of waste people produce then bury in the ground. Our planet is very fragile and it’s everyone’s responsibility to care for it.”

The artists will each be working shifts revamping prints, paintings and other works to save them from landfill. Jones says he isn’t fussy about the types of artworks he’s presented with.

“It doesn’t matter to me what the piece looks like,” he says. “They’ll all just be starting points. I just hope the artworks are unloved. In fact, the more unloved it is the better. This way I won’t have their owners saying, ‘I really like this half, can you just work on that half?’ It won’t be that sort of collaboration.

“It probably won’t be the occasion for me to start getting too precious or bogged down in detail. I want to keep things fresh and alive. I’m trying to bring objects back to life that are otherwise dead and buried.”

Bryan has also enlisted renowned British artist David Shrigley to design a limited-edition drinking cup that’ll be available at all editions of the Other Art Fair around the world. Its purpose is to help decrease the use of plastic bottles and cups at the fairs. There’ll also be a wall for punters to share ideas and suggestions about how to be more eco-friendly.

The Other Art Fair was launched in London eight years ago, and is now part of the city-wide Art Month Sydney.

If you have art you’d like to have upcycled, take it to the Other Art Fair, which will be held at Australian Technology Park, Eveleigh, from March 14 to 17.