San Francisco Artist Makes Celebrities Out of Trash (And They Love It)

Madonna, David Bowie and Lady Gaga all feature in 'Pop Trash' by Jason Mecier (Chronicle Books).

When it comes to pop music, the things that make it bright, beautiful, and bombastic are often the things that curmudgeons and cynics point to in order to make it seem like a lesser art form. Words like "trashy," "bubblegum," and "saccharine" are used. Accusations get thrown around that pop is "all style, no substance."

Enter Jason Mecier, a San Francisco artist who pays tribute to his favorite celebrities by making art out of objects like discarded materials, pieces of candy, and make-up-related detritus,  demonstrating in the most vivid of ways that one man's trash is another fan's treasure.

Mecier's brand new book, Pop Trash, features more than 150 lovingly assembled -- and remarkably life-like -- tributes to his heroes, including some of our favorite musicians. Below, we take a look at some of the best:

Prince

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Made with: Cassette tapes, feathers, inanimate doves, cosmetics, CDs, hairspray, a boom box, and pearls.

Lady Gaga

Made with: Poker chips, luggage stickers, pens, toothbrushes, circuit boards, keys, jewelry, rhinestones, and a Kermit the frog head.
(Fun fact: This one took Mecier six months to make!)

Pink

Made with: Fabric, feathers, bottle caps, cell phones, keys, CDs, cassette tape and, for some reason, a rubber centipede!
(Another fun fact: Pink owns this one.)

MadonnaMade with: CDs, broken mirrors, a camera lens, lace, jewelry, a microphone, and a pocket knife.

Missy Elliott

Made with: Lots and lots of cosmetics!

The Spice Girls

Made with: Various candies!
(If you were lucky enough to catch the Spice Girls on their 1998 summer tour, you might recognize this one as the tour poster. Geri had just quit, so Mecier hid her face in the 'E.')

Amy Winehouse

Made with: Various pills.
(Mecier says this one was "Made as a tribute after she died.")

Harry Styles

Made with: Various candies!

Miley Cyrus

Made with: 10lbs of licorice and other candies!

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Pop Trash also features actors, comedians, drag queens, directors, politicians, and artists, some of whom sent Mecier their own trash to use for their portraits. "My aim is to blur the line between high and low in both art and pop culture," Mecier writes, "and I like applying a down-to-earth, arts and crafts approach to representing flashy subjects." Ultimately, he says the point of his work is "to have fun." Mission accomplished!

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