In 2018 I took a short holiday to South East Asia to escape the notorious Canberra winters. While traveling, I was struck by how much the roadside rubbish had become a part of the landscape. I became hyper-aware of how much rubbish I, alone, was contributing. Hotel room after hotel room with single-use plastic bottles and no recycling available, airplane food individually wrapped in wrapper inside wrapper inside wrapper. As the plane left the runway and Ho Chi Minh City sprawled out into the distant smog I fell down a dark emotional rabbit hole imagining how much rubbish one single meal, one single household, one single city block must produce in a week let alone a lifetime.
When I returned home I started picking up rubbish on my morning walks, determined not to let it become a part of our landscape as it had overseas.
This artwork features discarded Coca-Cola can’s found on my local walks within 1km of my home, with Rosella’s that were visiting my front yard visiting for food.
I find a strange sort of beauty in this crumpled and dirty rubbish, in millions of dollars spent on branding and advertising selling us “a better life” tossed aside without a second thought. It’s my background in Traditional Sign Painting and Branding design; I just know how much work has gone into these things. I’m hoping that by painting them with delicacy and detail it will bring new life to the (previously ignored) rubbish, encouraging whoever is walking past it to notice it and pick it up like we would an injured animal, and care for it by placing it in the recycling bin - where it belongs.