I Remember the Trash Can

18″x36″ mixed media on canvas 2008

Lots of people who see this image find different ways of interpreting what’s going on. Someone once asked if it was symbolic of my humble poverty line roots, while others just stand amused and scared to ask. Well, here’s the story behind this painting:

My sister and I were raised by a single immigrant mother who was not afraid of working herself to death to give us a better life. She took on many odd jobs to make ends meet and to get us off of welfare & other government assistance (though I still have fond memories of government cheese… ) But, I digress. One of the many jobs my mom had was being the “maintenance guy” of our apartment building. If something needed mowing, cleaning, repairing, etc., then my mom was the person to call.

One day, new trashcans arrived for our building and my mom had the fantastic idea to fill them with water and Mr. Bubbles so we could have our very own mini swimming pools. This was repeated several times and every time was even better than the last. Just to spice things up, we would even put the dog in the trashcan or hide in the cans and jump out as cars drove by.

It was a simpler time, a simpler place, with lots of uncomplicated emotions and just pure bliss at it’s finest. Recreating this memory in a painting is a constant reminder to me that if a trashcan could make me happy once then achieving happiness everyday is always at my reach.

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