Dumpster finds, sometimes affectionately known as “freeganism”, is when people eschew buying expensive items in the store and take people’s throwaways instead. It’s certainly not something everybody does, but those who do believe they’re saving money and the environment by reusing still-useful objects. Regardless of whether you practice freeganism or not, it’s hard to argue against people in general throwing away items that are still capable of more life. Some freegans, though, have taken these objects and breathed really creative, amazing life into them. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Gregory Kloehn: Uses Dumpster Finds to Help the Homeless
Many people would dismiss dumpster diving as something left to the homeless, but that’s an unfair stereotype. Kloehn is an artist who uses dumpster finds as a way of tangibly expressing the relationship between the wealthy and poor, but with a concrete side effect: people can actually use his artwork for their own good.
He goes through dumpsters where people have illegally dumped their goods, sorts through the mess, and then uses an artist’s eye to create mini-homes — one-room shelters — for the homeless. They may only be the size of a couch, but Kloehn has built them with slanted roofs to let the rain fall off and wheels so people can move them around.
Elizabeth Gibson: Discovers Lost Masterpiece Painting
Rufino Tamayo was a Mexican painter who made art based on his interpretation of traditional Mexican culture and not the politicized one. He was also half-responsible for creating a new artistic medium called Mixografia, where prints have a 3D textural aspect to them. Tamayo also gained critical respect in the US when he lived in New York for 12 years and had his artwork shown at Knoedler Gallery and Marlborough Gallery, which helped him gain even more respect in his native Mexico.
Tamayo’s paintings are generally hung onto by people who purchase them, but one found its way into a dumpster. It was his 1970 work called Tres Personajes (Three People), and somebody had stolen it from its owner and tossed it away. Elizabeth Gibson just happened to see the $1 million painting and recognized it as something special, even though she was no art aficionado herself. Although she had it in her living room for three years, she had no idea it was actually stolen; when she did learn of that, she went on a lengthy mission to reunite the painting with its owners so they could hang it in their living room.
Paulo Goldstein: Decorates London’s Central Saint Martins Room with Dumpster Finds
Central Saint Martins is a college in London where undergraduate and graduate students study arts and design, a school where Paulo Goldstein attended and graduated. His work at school evidently impressed the head, Jeremy Till, enough that Goldstein was approached to turn around an empty room on campus.
Instead of painting a mural or installing a neat light fixture, Goldstein wanted his art to have a message, to say that the world can’t continue to grow if we use up cheap resources. So, in his mind, the perfect answer was to collect dumpster finds and remodel the room with them. And when the project was finished, Goldstein and his team had transformed a previously empty room into one usable for everyday purposes.