Many of us still have them lurking somewhere in a cupboard or attic space and we rarely give them any thought, but old vinyl records are making an artistic comeback – albeit not quite in the way the original performers might have imagined. With the advent of the CD, vinyl record production rapidly declined but there are still millions of old discs in circulation.
Old Vinyl Record Painted as Wall Hanging
Around 7 billion kilos of vinyl are produced by manufacturers every year, with over 70% going to durable construction items like pipes and siding. Still, there is undoubtedly a lot of vinyl out there by weight sitting unused. Some is incinerated, but fortunately vinyl can also be melted and reformed over and over. Some vinyl records are thus being dusted off and collected to be made into entirely different products that bear no resemblance to the record itself.
Old Record Formed and Painted as Fruit Bowl
By carefully melting the vinyl record over a pattern mould, the record takes on a seamless new shape with an entirely new application. This way, planters, bowls, ashtrays and vases can be produced in large quantities. Meanwhile, other products such as earrings, necklaces and silhouettes can be made by cutting the vinyl with sharp blades or lasers, instead of melting it.
Old Records Cut into Artistic Shapes for Wall Decoration
Carlos Aries produced the figures shown here. They tend to use less of the original record's design, but are still recognizable as recycled vinyl records. Most of us probably think that production of vinyl records is virtually extinct now, but production of vinyl itself in the UK is the second largest in the world; second only to the US where it is a £14.6 billion a year industry.
Old Records used as Body in Fish Mural
In America, lots of ingenious ways have been found to re-purpose old vinyl. It can be reformed into bottles, floor tiles, garden hosing, pipes and traffic cones, among many other things. Girls carry handbags made from old records, and the uses to which it can be put seem endless. Vinyl is actually more environmentally friendly to make than other plastics, using less energy and causing fewer emissions, but it never biodegrades or breaks down in landfill.
Old Records used as Body in Snake Mural
Jacksonville public arts commission, in the USA, put old vinyl records to work on the streets of its hometown, in both the musical and the reptilian sense. The artists involved combined them with wheat-paste graffiti to create amazing animal images.
ld Record Formed and Shaped as Recreation of Salvador Dali's 'Melting Clock'
Another very imaginative soul created this replica of Salvador Dali's famous 'Melting Clock' out of an old record. Not all art from old vinyl, however, is meant to be put on display on walls. Some sculptures really catch the eye as well.
Old Records Used to Create 'Sound Wave' Sculpture
Artist Jean Shin created "Sound Wave" out of vinyl records, to show "the inevitable waves of technology that render each successive generation of recordable media obsolete."
Old Records Used to Form and Shape Figure for School Project
Brittany Harwood, a 15-year-old girl, created this sculptured figure, made from vinyl records, for a scholarship program. The only limit to what can be achieved with old vinyl appears to be the depth of imagination employed. Can hardly wait to see what comes next.