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Thanks for the great trashed memories

August 29, 2014


Yesterday I fished the painterly equivalent of a snapshot out of a Fairview dumpster. It recorded a moment shared by two people.

One of the people made the painting of the moment and yesterday, it would appear, the other person took a moment to throw the painting away.

The painting depicted a sunset over water in shades of blue and neon pink. It wasn’t unusual for anything other than the fact that it was signed, dated, and bore a brief notation/dedication written on the back of the canvas.

The sun sets on another (and another) painting


It’s rare for dumpster art to have so much provenance.

The acrylic  and oil on canvas painting was titled, not surprisingly, “West End Sunset” and  dedicated: “For our times on the balcony. Great memories. Love D”. It was painted in May of 2003.

I shouldn’t speculate on why the painting ended up in a dumpster and I certainly shouldn’t  judge it’s quality. I will say it was intense and I do think it would have been an act of love to hang it on a wall.

So much for not judging.

A photograph can seem like a neutral object of nature but a painting is a creation that always brings to mind its creator.

As for the moment depicted, the person may not need the painting to remember that. They were there after all.

Before “Kodak moments” replaced Rembrandts


This painting was in the same dumpster. Was it painted from the same balcony?

Before life became a string of “Kodak moments” — back when picture albums were called “galleries” — I wonder if people were in the habit of snidely telling gawkers to “paint a picture, it’ll last longer”?

After all, if you really want to preserve a moment, paintings will certainly outlast photographs.

The oldest paintings in caves are over 40,000 years old. A little more recent are the 1000-or-so extant Fayum paintings — strikingly realistic portraits in an almost recognizably modernist style with colours that are as bright and fresh today as when they were painted, some 2,000 years ago.

The oldest known surviving photograph, on the other hand, is only 186 0r 187 years old and doesn’t look a day over 300. Not only isn’t it in colour, it’s barely in black and white. Click the images to enlarge them.

From → Art, Fairview

  1. ~xtian permalink

    “Trashed Memories”. Hurr hurr hurr. I have more of those than I’d like – and the internet does and doesn’t help.


  2. It makes me sad to think someone’s creation could be thrown away so carelessly. Both of those are a bit garish, but they have their own charms nonetheless.


    • The fact of a painting embodies many stories. Seeing them in the garbage always makes me think about those possible stories.

      If I had a place to store them (my storage locker is kind of full) I’d keep every discarded painting I blog. They would make for an interesting gallery show. And many of them have been genuine keepers.


  3. Slowcrow permalink

    Yes, a gallery. Wouldn’t that be cool. And maybe some ‘hobo art’ pieces……… BTW, nice to see one of my favourite posts of yours, mentioned in the twittersphere. (boy, i sure don’t understand how THAT works—- yet…… )


    • Every so often one of the residents I know who peruse my blog will ask after one or other of the paintings I photograph. It would be worth keeping them but on the other hand, normally these paintings would just vanish into the waste stream. Part of me likes the whole “catch and release” of photographing the garbage but then leaving it to its fate.

      Perhaps people who work at the landfill transfer station have a lot of mismatched art on their walls.

      One follower wished I was on Twitter so I set up a Twitter account earlier this year. I try to create original content that suits Twitter rather than just regurgitate my blog. It’s work but it’s rewarding.


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