Profile: Artist George Budiman
Upcycling finds a champion in George Budiman, who organises projects that turn movie props and sets into edgy furniture, artworks and objects.
For SingaPlural earlier this year, artist George Budiman spearheaded the creation of ‘100 Doors’, an installation made from dismantled sets of local TV shows. Partnering with MediaCorp, who provided the materials, Budiman’s team of designers, gardeners, and builders created a secret garden of herbs and ornamentals bordered by doors of many styles and colors representing a veritable ‘doorways to the senses’.
Although ‘100 Doors’ engaged the five senses, following the exhibition’s theme, the installation’s principal message was upcycling.
The piece is a second coup for Budiman, whose earlier project produced furniture, art pieces, and objects out of discarded movie props, which were eventually presented at the Shanghai Art Week 2015.
For this, Budiman mobilized 80 artist and designer friends working in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou, organised them in groups, and gave them access to movie props from movie star Jackie Chan’s collection. The brief he gave them was simple: Create something of use or value from the old props. The teams funded their individual projects, but obtained help from partner trade associations and manufacturing companies.
Budiman’s upcycling story began much earlier. “I once made a portrait of Jackie with 33,000 buttons from my collection, which he saw and liked very much.” On one of their meetings, Budiman asked Chan if he could have some of the props from his collection for an art project. The latter was apparently elated to hear that someone wanted to make something useful out of old props that were just languishing in the warehouses. He readily agreed, and the upcycling project was born.
“We all want to create something beautiful,” Budiman enthuses, “but let’s face it, each time we create something, we consume fresh materials and sometimes deplete our already thinning resources. When someone builds a five-star hotel, you can imagine the amount of wood, concrete, and glass that go into it. So I thought, why don’t we create beautiful things from objects that have outlived their original function? That’s when I went to Jackie (to ask) for the props.”
In the future, Budiman hopes to replicate the project in other places. “If Jackie is available, I would love for him to come to Singapore and grace an exhibition of furniture and artworks made from his old discarded props. I think the next Singapore Design Week will be a good time to launch that.”
This story first appeared in FORM Magazine.