Most of us throw away empty bottles without a second thought, but not Veronika Richterová. The Czech artist collects plastic PET bottles and repurposes them into whimsical artworks: from cactus plant-like creations to monumental spider sculptures that look like Louise Bourgeois’s famous work “Maman”.

Where did your idea for “PET-ART” come from?

— One summer day when I was drinking water from a plastic bottle, I wondered what would happen to the plastic if I reshaped it using heat. I decided to create a sculpture from this material and immediately coined the art form “PET-ART”.

You must always be on the look-out for empty plastic bottles...

— I always have an instrument in my car – a sort of iron hook – that I use to take bottles out of streetside recycling bins. That’s the really adventurous and entertaining part of my work. I never know what I’ll find in there! In the Czech Republic we have very colorful bottles, which is a great advantage as far as I am concerned.

What kind of artistic message is behind your work?

— It’s my way of expression: I simply want to share my ideas and delight in creation. I don’t want to communicate a ‘Save the planet’ message through this kind of art, but I do hope to give people a new point of view on trash. For this reason, I have begun to set up the PET-ART Museum together with graphic designer Michal Cihlář. This project will showcase different artworks, including our huge collection of about 3,500 plastic bottles from 96 countries and highlight the different potentialities of creative recycling.

What has been people’s reaction to your work?

— I’m really surprised with the positive reaction from people of all ages. My sculptures attract even people who normally don’t visit museums or exhibitions. Maybe this is because the material I work with is so close to everybody and also I think people are a bit tired of conceptual art.