Who Doesn’t Know about Jack?

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This Winter, my creativity took a tangent towards trash collection. Here are the results and a brief explanation, in case you are wondering…

Meet Jack (Jacques, Giacomo, Jackie-O, Jackie-jack)

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and Pepe ( Peps, Peeps, Pee-pee, Pepperoni, Giuseppe).

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We walk almost every morning.  A good daily walk makes for happy dogs, no matter how small. To get around the occasional frustration of geriatric chihuahua walking, I collect stuff off the ground…naturally.

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After observing the ground-trash in the immediate neighborhood and surrounding alley-hoods, a certain aesthetic emerged, based partly in my training as a painter/drawer and partly in my principles, idiocyncracies and basic philosophy.

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I made a list of limitations to keep the look of the trash consistent. Collected trash must correspond to the following:

  • Must be nonperishable
  • Must be flattened, by a car or other large fast thing
  • Must be found within a certain area in the north university housing district in the public right-of-way
  • Must be collected while walking Jack and Pepe (to maintain consistent rate of collection)

Here is an example of one walks worth of flattened-trash collection:

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Several walks worth, enough to frame:

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Until most recently, I had no way to present the trash. Thanks to Aaron Brothers buy one get one for a penny deal, I found four shadowbox frames for nearly free…which worked perfectly in principle and aesthetically for the flat-trash.

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I managed 4 compositions before resources became scarce due to over-collection. How about that?!

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So, it may be cliche, but it is also very unique.

No other collection would exist anywhere but in the North University Housing District.

It must be car flattened, not just any trash.

It comes to us only through dog walking, not any other deliberate action.

It ultimately presents a slice of life in my neighborhood, nicely sealed in a shadowbox, forever frozen in a lightly composed and crushed construction.

I love the effects of reflected and refracted light that the trash creates. In these flat-trash compositions I see the elements and principles of design including; line, shape, light, form and sparkling color combinations. My imagination and story-telling impulses are much inspired by the random collections, quite entertaining.

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All thanks to Jack (and Pepe).

And…while I’d like to say this project ended, I can’t say the trash did.

And…not being able to resist flat trash now, I find a bigger, deeper box for the Spring session. Maybe more to come on this, or maybe not.

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Happy Collecting!