Trash Art is a body of work inspired by the relationships between us, humans, and the things we produce, use and ultimately throw away. My work deals with the unwanted, the undervalued, the problematic. I collected litter from the streets of Portland over the course of five months. During that time, I manipulated the litter, treating it like I would any other art material. Through months of experimenting with this vile and abundant medium, I discovered ways to convert it into a work of art. Trash is a major component in our ecosystem. It is an abundant resource and it is changing the environmental landscape of Earth. If we give this human-made material the proper attention and care, we will begin to understand the impact it's made on the planet. We might be able to understand why we cannot keep producing petroleum products. I wanted to give our waste the attention it deserves because I don't think we, humans, understand the massive amount of power it holds.
marker, found objects, canvas on wooden board, 18 x 22 in
Part of working with trash is physically going out and collecting it. I wore this uniform while I was collecting my material because it helped me blend in with the other city workers such as the Clean and Safe PDX people.
yellow vest, garbage picker, gloves
Experimentation is a big part of this series. Having not done much with trash before, I wanted to dive into the material head first. I had to experiment with the material in any way I could imagine: painting, collaging, binding, intuitively finding the best ways to compose the material into a single form. I made "sketches" with my objects in the form of assemblages and 3D collages. Sketching is just another term for "figuring it out."
wood, hot glue, acrylic paint, spray paint, cardboard, fabric, cultural artifacts, 24×58×72 in
Keep is a stand alone sculptural painting comprised of litter collected from the streets of Downtown and Northeast Portland over a period of two to three months. These lost and discarded objects work together to form a colorful abstract composition. This painting is a wall that portrays Portland's colorful culture and community through its trash.
spray paint, canvas, cultural artifacts, chip board, 36×48 in
This piece started out as an accumulation of unwanted trash stitched and glued to an unscratched canvas. It wasn't until the gold was added that the piece really found its meaning. This is one of my favorites because it plays with our perceived value systems and our standard of beauty. Nothing says modern art like a bunch of framed garbage hanging on the wall.
GREEN PIECE, a piece of the Earth
Found objects, acrylic paint, chip board, 26 x 30 in
PVC pipe, canvas, acrylic paint, spray paint, cultural artifacts, wood, 18×18×56 in
During this thesis, I became fascinated with birds, they way they fly, travel the world. They live in about every part of the planet and are resilient enough to put up with human activity. To me, birds symbolize freedom and the beauty of nature. Then, I found Chris Jordan's images of dead birds with their stomachs cut open, and their stomachs were completely filled with bits of plastic. It was like a slap in the face. How could we cause such blatant harm to such a beautiful creature? How long can we go ignoring the problem when it is right in front of our faces?
More Bird Studies
Model Magic clay, spray paint, takeout container, found packing material on a pedestal
When I was collecting litter on NE Killingsworth St, I came across a whole Cornish hen chilling out on the street next to the curb. It looked like it had fallen out of someone's grocery bag because it was still in its packaging. This is my tribute to that lost & forgotten Cornish Hen.