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  • rileysoloner

Good Garbage


I have a waste paper basket tucked in the corner of the living room. This basket doesn't usually get a lot of action. And when it does, it gets filled with mundane crap like a bag of a fun new chip flavor I had to try. A shredded envelope with a plastic window to entice me with a horrible new loan. A snotty tissue ball.


I've been painting. I've developed a new little mini method. I need to set down scratch paper, secure my pieces with rolls of blue tape, swipe up excess paint with paper towels, and consolidate near-empty tubes into dollar store squeeze bottles. I sit on the floor with music playing and happily traverse the depths of behaving like a little factory.


I slowly peel away four ribbons of paint-soaked blue tape as I twist them into wet, spirally sticks. I carefully place them into the waste paper basket at an angle precise enough to prevent them from sticking to the top of the plastic grocery bag. I need these sticks to lay flat against the inside wall of the basket. I need to stuff as many sticks neatly into the basket as possible. The care ensures less wet paint smudging my fingertips. The more efficient this discarding process, the faster I can get to the next painting. The absolute worst case is a stray pinky finger accidentally touching on some tape, pulling up a spider web of paint-soaked sticks, along with the entire grocery bag in the basket. I have no time for this.


And when I've finished a session, I notice that even the garbage leftovers from the creative work makes me happy. This trash looks so much nicer. It's its own art piece. How nice, an affirming signifier of my work and existence. More art trash, please. Something to believe in besides chips, bills and snot.

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