I don't often buy directly from designer brand stores but when I do, I tend to keep the shopping bag my purchase comes in. I don't do this only with designer bags but from other retailers too. My husband thinks it's funny but I just can't help myself.
When I came across this art collection by Japanese artist, Yuken Teruya, I was immediately fascinated at the idea of transforming bags into art in his series Notice Forest. For most people (unlike myself) these shopping bags become trash. Instead of throwing the bags away, Yuken Teruya cuts trees into the bags that are intricate, delicate and insanely beautiful. On the Pippy Houldsworth site, Megan Ratner states that Yuken Teruya uses photos of trees (from his travels or from his home base in New York City) that he transfers to a computer to superimpose on the logo side of the shopping bag. He then carefully cuts out the silhouette and folds/twists the silhouette into the interior of the bag (gluing down the trunk of the tree with a single drop of glue). On the artist's website, he describes that while the bag seems to maintain the structure and integrity of the delicate cut tree, it is actually the tree holding the bag up.
While this series is a commentary on consumerism and its impact on the environment, one can't help but appreciate the work of art these bags provide. Yuken Teruya truly sees beauty in the mundane. For more on the series, check out Yuken Teruya's site (where he also transforms toilet paper rolls, money and newspapers) or Pippy Houldsworth's site.