Edmonton·Photos

From trash to treasure: artist turns beer bottle caps into mosaics

Working in a bar not only helped Jeff Meszaros pay the bills, it inspired him to see the caps he twisted off beer bottles as more than trash.

Working in a bar not only helped Jeff Meszaros pay the bills, it inspired him to see the caps he twisted off beer bottles as more than trash.

The Edmonton musician turned artist now uses the multi-coloured caps to create mosaics through his business JAM Bottle Cap Art. 

"They're all different colours and they're all unique," Meszaros said. "They're almost like paint."

His first work, a portrait of John Lennon, took six years and now hangs over his bed. 

The hobby became a business when a friend saw his second piece, a mosaic of Jimi Hendrix. The man asked Meszaros to create a portrait of the late Clash frontman Joe Strummer for the wall of his new bar.  

That portrait led to other commissions. In the last year, Meszaros has made 17 bottle cap mosaics. The pieces are mostly commissioned pieces of musicians including Neil Young, Tom Petty and Keith Richards.

Recently Meszaros made a mosaic of two characters from Star Wars to mark the upcoming release of the seventh film in the series.

Meszaros now collects bottle caps from ten bars near his home. He gets about a 1,000 caps at week that way.

"It's taking something that's usually trash and making something really cool out of it," he says.

Meszaros now spends about two weeks on each piece. He used to flatten the caps with a mallet. Now he has a custom press to flatten a bunch of them at a time.

After tracing an image from an overhead projector onto a piece of plywood, he layers the caps like fish scales and attaches them with a nail gun.

Meszaros is now making enough money with his bottle cap mosaics to cut back hours at his other jobs.

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