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Wood Carvings Of Everyday Discarded Objects Reflect Issues Of Commercialism

Trompe l’oeil depictions make art out of items thrown out on the street

Ross Brooks

Consumerism is so deeply woven into our daily lives that many of us just function on autopilot without considering the consequences. One artist has found a way to jolt us back to reality with his trompe l’oeil wooden carvings of everyday items that have been thrown out on the street. “From the Street” is a series by Tom Pfannerstill that demonstrates amazing artistic talent, and also sends a powerful message.

Each piece has been carefully crated, and features a description on the back of where and when Pfannerstill found this particular “gift from the street.” Here’s how Pfannerstill describes the series on his website:

The objects reflect state-of-the-art-graphics; one can almost sense the well-planned and psychologically tested schemes to sell the products. They are a testament to the effectiveness of that marketing, after all, someone made the decision to purchase the product before consuming it and discarding the packaging.

Apart from offering a commentary on our perpetual desire to buy things, the artwork also serves as a record of the the object’s movement through space and time.

Each of these objects was at one time a near-perfect clone of millions of others of it’s type. It was designed and manufactured to exacting standards. By the time I find it, it has become a tiny study of opposing forces. Mechanical geometric precision is altered by organic twists, bends and folds. The sparkling clean surfaces are smudged and marked by everyday dirt, grit and grime. No two objects have exactly the same journey , so no two are marked in exactly the same way.

Pfannerstill’s work also helps to highlight the constant changes that happen to product packaging for the sake of sales, modernization, or temporary promotions such as a movie or product tie-in. One of the most shocking changes is the size of drink cups, which have grown to phenomenally large sizes over the years. Also, the artist has noticed a reliance on less sustainable materials such as plastic.

They are markers of a time, though, and as such will become a tiny part of the fossil record, a small archeological artifact. They will be a small, hold-in your-hand object- a soild, 3-D reminder of the past– an idea I find strangely comforting in a world that is increasingly electronic and virtual.

[h/t] Crackajack

Tom Pfannerstill

Images by Tom Pfannerstill

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