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Casa Verde: Consumer Culture Art

Think you recognize this painting? Guess again.

While it may look like Seurat's "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte", it's actually a photograph from Seattle photographer Chris Jordan.

To see what this image is made from,


Jordan creates murals, which he then photographs, from consumer trash. His photographs urge viewers to rethink their daily habits, from tossing disposable coffee cups to drinking cans of soda. In the San Francisco Chronicle article "Consumer Culture Turns to Murals of Trash, Jordan explains his project:

The images, part of Jordan's latest project, "Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait," were an attempt, he said, to take "the dry unfeeling language of data and to translate it into the visual language of feeling."

Tossed out each year: 130 million cell phones. Used each hour: more than 1 million brown paper bags. Used every 5 minutes: 2 million petroleum-based plastic bottles. Produced every eight hours by jets flying across the United States: 11,000 contrails. Used every six hours on those flights, 1 million plastic cups, because, Jordan said, it's illegal to refill your cup on an airline flight.

I'm always happy (though definitely disturbed) to see art that rethinks our consumerism, and Jordan's art definitely makes an impact. While these aren't images everyone wants to see, they are absolutely necessary if we are to turn over our disposable lifestyles (and yes, I definitely count myself among the millions who are living this way). While recycling is a good option, we need to also remember the first two points: reducing and reusing.

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