Become a member
Follow us:

Plastic Ocean

Plastic Ocean

Words: 5

Photos: Thirza Schaap

Follow us:

How deceptive beauty can be. Artist Thirza Schaap creates appealing artworks in candy colours, but the reality is anything but sweet. They are made from the beach debris she finds along less-than-pristine coastlines.

“As a child, I would walk over beaches and through fields and forests to collect beautiful shells, shimmering stones, feathers and funnily shaped branches,” Dutch artist Thirza Schaap says in a statement, describing her work.

“Much later, when spending more time on beaches all over the world, I found myself doing the same thing, only to discover that I started filling my pockets with trash instead of treasure. Plastic from the ocean. Colourful and beautiful in its own tragic way.”

‘Plastic Ocean’ is an ongoing art project to raise awareness of pollution while at the same time trying to reduce the use of plastic; so Thirza combs the beaches, collecting washed-up bottles, bags, bits of string, straws – the things that most of us prefer to walk quickly past. Drawing us in with her striking compositions, she invites us to reflect on the ugliness that we have let loose in the world.

“In making artistic sculptures out of the objects I find, I try to evoke an emotional response  from my audience by creating a contradiction. A clash between initial aesthetic attraction and after a second look: repulsion and the realisation of the tragedy trash causes.”

Main image: Close family 2019

Waterlilies 2018

Magnify 2019

“Plastic from the ocean. Colourful and beautiful in its own tragic way”

Sakura 2018

Fruits 2020

Vanity 2020

“I started filling my pockets with trash instead of treasure”

Heron 2019

Hydra frost 2019

The end 2020

Convex and Concave 2019

Go to or to view the full project.




More stories from:



Saving the waves

Two startups taking action against ocean plastic in very different ways.