October 14, 2011 - Recent challenges to the very foundation of Trashpo have raised serious questions about whether this practice will endure in the eternal network. Issues include claims of defective items, authenticity, and challenges to Trashpo concepts by mail-artists. Perhaps most disturbing, Jim Leftwich (Virginia, USA), who coined the term Trashpo, has never made a public comment on the current movement. Others view Trashpo as a fad, repackaged readymades. So what is the current state of Trashpo today and can it endure?
A Can-Do Attitude...
Erni Baer of Hamburg, Germany, whose influences include Da Da and the Beat Generation, is an ideal can-didate (see above) for Trashpo laurels. This flattened aluminum can, glued to cardboard and mailed to me recently, is a shining example of his work that shows the influence of Pop Art in a very direct way. Here is the reverse side:
Erni Baer also maintains a strong identity in the haptic poetry community. Could this be a life insurance policy? A golden parachute to respectability if the Trashpo enterprise goes belly up? He is one of the first recipients of the Trash Po-litzer Prize for his seminal "Llingdo" (2010) sausage can art. This more recent work seems to be another addition to the aluminum can-on. Perhaps this suggests the future direction of Trashpo is in metals.
"God save the Queen. I really mean it, man..."
No discussion of contemporary Trashpo would be complete without a big nod (and a wink) to Diane Keys aka DK. I have never been very good at second-guessing her conceptual brilliance. The most recent mail-art she sent me resulted from my numerous complaints concerning the alleged defective D-Koder ring she sent me. I want to express my deepest thanks to DK for sending me a new, fully functioning ring that is the pride and joy of DKULTNY, the New York branch of her fan club. The ring does not appear in this blog because I could not scan it. However, here is the Trashpo that accompanied it:
She seems to be taking a new direction in micro-Trashpo. Some of the bits of metal are so small you can barely see them, a DK take on minimalism. Clearly, some are meant to help, along with the D-Koder ring, in predicting future events or making decisions. I think some of them are pieces of earrings. I ask myself, "Do I now have pieces of DK's earrings?" Then I wonder: Has Trashpo become a D-Kult of personality? After all, Dark wall has been begging her for months to send him one of her shoes.
DK is now including a Certification of Authenticity with at least some of her mail-art. With all the authentic fakes circulating, I suppose this is logical. But people will just start making fake authenticity certificates, if they have not begun already. This leads to a huge issue: DK is clearly emerging into an industry with product lines and fan clubs. She has D-Kmart. Elgin no longer can provide all the trash she needs, so she is importing it from Maine. A fine-art franchise is included. Can Trashpo survive this level of market exploitation? DK's blog, new and growing in popularity, is a epicenter of Trashpo. The Golden Buddha is a source of cosmic wisdom. I now consult Golden Boo Dee concerning all important decisions:
Canadian Trashpo - A new frontier
Even as Trashpo debates escalate, more and more artists are entering the field. Remarkable work is being produced. Below is exciting and groundbreaking Trashpo I just received from Stewart Charlebois of Langley, British Columbia, Canada. We are familiar with Euro-trash and U.S. trash, yet Canadian trash remain largely untapped. Charlebois' work connects directly with junk food Trashpo through this very large and colorful flattened potato chip bag. In my estimation, an instant classic:
Stewart Charlebois' work is definitely authentic Trashpo. The folds and creases formed through the flattening process have produced asemic symbols. Whether by chance or design, this is a clever example of asemic Trashpo. Here is the reverse side:
Many thanks to Stewart Charlebois for sending me this wonderful Trashpo. Stewart has a link on his IUOMA profile to a flickr photostream of mail-art:
This overview of Trashpo strongly suggests the artform is alive and well, if not thriving. Debates and questions are likely the result of its explosive growth and evolution. Yet if Trashpo were to fade away I would want to make sure I had documented this well-known classic by Thom Courcelle (Seattle, Washington, USA) that has become a symbol for the Age of Trash: