A collaborative of artists have set up CANLOVE – the name used by Paul Ramirez and DJ Neff. They’re completely different to any other graffiti artists you might have come across as they’re not really interested in the paint inside the can. They’re more interested in the can itself and what the can can become once the paint has been used. As they say, “in every paint can is a story” and they turn discarded paint cans left behind by budding graffiti artists, process them at their creative studio and turn them into something beautiful.
Regularly holding exhibitions and selling one of a kind flowers in their shop, CANLOVE are truly unique and are – as far as we can tell – unlike any other artist collaborative out there. Their mission is fairly clear. In a world that regularly produces more and more graffiti, more and more spray cans are being produced. So, CANLOVE’s goal is to leave no can behind, ever, and to turn products used to make art into art themselves whilst providing the world with an alternative means of recycling used paint cans. To date, they’ve upcycled over 15,000 individual paint cans and that tally just keeps on growing and growing. They work with other groups and artists and have since standardized their methods, meaning that each and every paint can can quickly be stripped and transformed into something new and beautiful.
CANLOVE has collection bins all over the place, but their primary bins are at Venice Walls – a world-renown mecca for graffiti artists, with a huge stretch of ever-changing art. Artists are invited to dispose of their cans in the bins provided and they know that instead of contributing to landfill – or to the ever-growing piles of recycled materials that are quickly becoming just as troublesome as landfill, as they’re going completely unused – they’re contributing to a growing art movement that’s becoming increasingly popular all over the world.
So what do they do with the cans? Well, anything and everything. One of the most popular uses for the spray cans is to turn them into flowers. Strips of can are shaped into elegant petals, painted and then arranged and constructed into flowers. You can choose to include a stem (usually made from the spray mechanism) or not. The flowers come in every conceivable colour and style and range from being beautifully delicate to cool and contemporary. You can buy single flowers or bunches of flowers displayed in vases, with decorative detailing to the base of the vases. Not only that, but they regularly hold exhibitions and display their work at festivals and galleries all over the place. One of those exhibitions used cut and painted pieces of spray can to create more traditional pieces of framed art, as well as sculptural pieces and even a travelling flower cart made from spray cans.
With a colourful flair and a real eye for design, CANLOVE really make the most of their material, working with the natural flexibility and delicacy of the cans to create some truly stunning pieces.