30,000 MetroCards Upcycled Into Stunning Celebrity Portraits

Public transportation saves money and reduces urban carbon emissions. If you live in a large city, it’s likely that you’ve got a bus or subway car sitting in your pocket right now. But what happens to these little plastic passes when they’re expired or worn past the point of usefulness?

German artist Nina Boesch decided that the trash can was too cruel of a fate for these every day objects. Instead of looking at them as trash, she say them as a medium for creating fantastic works of art. Over the past decade, Boesch has turned over 30,000 of NYC’s plastic MetroCards into mosaic portraits of world famous celebrities. Usually famous people hate being trashed, but it’s likely that if they see these pieces, they’ll make an exception.


Image via Nina Boesch

According to her website, Boesch uses the front of MetroCards for color collages (yellow, orange, blue and black), and the back for grayscale collages (black and white). In addition to celebrity portraits, she also recreates icons from the New York City landscape and custom pieces for those who want a unique piece of upcycled art that represents something or someone special. The pieces sell for up to $2,500. Not to shabby for art made from waste many people would have tossed away without a second thought!

One thing Boesch doesn’t explain on her website is how she breaks down the credit card sized bus passes into chips small enough to be used in the collages. Something tells me that doing it by hand would ruin your scissors and probably give you carpal tunnel syndrome.

Tell us: What other mundane object is the perfect ingredient for a mosaic? 

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

Be first to comment