Climate crisis awareness need not be all doom and gloom, as artist duo SweetArt proves.
The husband and wife team Vic and Simon Dry were struck by an idea one Christmas – a time most of us are bloated, watching Eastenders omnibus and trying not to fall asleep on the sofa – and saw a pile of empty Quality Street wrappers glistening in the light. They knew they had the potential to create an artwork there and then, but it took a while to figure out how.
Then, it struck them – why not use the wrappers to create representations of their original confectionary forms? And in doing so, they also raise awareness of the environmental issues around single-use plastics, which can take up to 10 years to decompose, even if said plastic is recyclable. The pair hope their work will encourage more artists to re-use waste materials creatively.
Vic Dry has said that each artwork takes around two or three months to complete. The process involves gathering the sweet wrappers the pair have collected over the years in their studio, having received them from family, friends, and neighbours. These are then arranged into various colour palettes. Then, the outline of each sweet design – which includes Toblerone, Liquorice Coils, Black Jacks and Fruit Salads, as well as the Lindt Bunny and Cadbury's Creme Egg – is mapped out, then the pieces are glued onto a recycled piece of biodegradable plastic.
Aside from all this climate crisis stuff, the works—on sale through West Contemporary are also just plain cute; evoking nostalgia for simpler times of scraping together pennies to pop to the sweet shop and gorge our childhood selves into a sugar-coated stupor.
"SweetArt has touched people," says Vic. "Mention sweets and we all have memories of spending money at the local sweet shop, Christmases, birthdays and our favourites; it's an evocative subject and is always greeted with enthusiasm."