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Apr 16

Trash Artist

Last Friday I went for a quick walk at lunch. On my way back to the office, a piece of pink surveyor’s tape lodge in the branches of a tree caught my attention.

bling2I thought the sheer pink tape blowing in the wind was pretty and had a flight of fancy where I imagined the tree deliberately catching the object and adorning its branches with it… like a 6-year-old wearing her tutu to church.

In a split second I wondered if I could paint this story. So I spent 10 minutes trying to get a good reference shot with my kindle camera.

I had a good time in this endeavor, partially because I was amused by the non-looks of passer-by. Downtown Portland is full of… unique individuals and suddenly I had become one of them as I danced around the tree with my kindle up in the air trying to get a picture of trash. People walked past, studiously ignoring my wild antics.

bling1This got me wondering about my identity as an artist.

Most days (we’ll overlook Mondays) I have some creative burst. It’s usually damped by my pesky job or other commitments. But I do think of myself as an artist and most times even admit it.

A lot has been written about artistic confidence and why artists should be proud to identify themselves as such. Artists work just as hard at their profession as the average banker or doctor, often with less remuneration. But often we’ll dismiss our works: “I just do watercolor.”

Over the years I have learned to take a compliment. When someone compliments my art, I try to say “thank you.” I am still learning to take criticism… but you’ve heard about that.

Still, an identity as an artist where I do bizarre things such as twirl around a tree to get a picture of a piece of trash is a little new. Usually I say “I paint watercolors” or “I paint horses.” I don’t generally admit that I wander the streets of Portland in search of trash to photograph.

Maybe I should?