Scott Sjobakken

I'm interested in the motivations of people, their greed, violence, religion and reasons for war. The main theme in much of my work is disposability and human nature.

The garbage paintings are plainly painted literal depictions of their subject. The original garbage bag paintings I created soon after I moved to New York City and I refer to them as "garbage portraits". When I first moved from Iowa to New York City I was struck by the amount of garbage on the streets. I started painting them out of frustration and soon realized that on a canvas they can be transformed into beautiful objects. It was with that first series of garbage bags that the idea of presenting ugly subjects in a beautiful fashion became an ongoing motif in my work. I also see these works as a reaction to pop art and the generation before me who celebrated consumerism. My latest series of paintings is a continuation on the earlier theme of garbage. This time I was motivated by reports I had read about the great Pacific garbage patch and how our oceans are filling up with plastic garbage. Industrial and consumer garbage finds it's way into the ocean where it collects and breaks down. These plastics contain toxic chemicals like DDT and PCBs. Birds and fish eat these pieces and the toxins work their way up the food chain and back to us. I decided to expand on the earlier garbage bag theme and portray the journey of garbage and litter from the curb to the sea. I feel that this subject is the most urgent and frightening event happening in the world today. I believe this issue will be the legacy of 20th and 21st century man.