As I’ve mentioned before, a lot of Seattle coffee shops display and sell local art. Right now, the works of one Trevor Johnson adorn the walls of Zeitgeist Coffee, located near Seattle’s Pioneer Square and International District. Mr. Johnson apparently works in Styrofoam. His art consists of chunks of it glued together and painted various solid colors, as seen in this image taken with my not-so-great cell phone camera:
The pieces are labeled “Flotsam Red”, “Flotsam Blue”, etc. Price tag on each: $150.
Okay. I have respect for experimental art, writing, photography, music, and cinematography. I think it’s great when people go out on a limb and try something that’s never been tried before. But somehow, I’m not feeling much respect or awe for “Flotsam Green” and “Flotsam White”. Maybe if they were priced at, say, $15 each, and maybe if there were some sort of meaningful explanation posted, saying, “These are beastly chunks of Styrofoam I found floating in the Puget Sound, and I have made art from them to bring awareness to the human effect on the environment. All proceeds go to Puget Sound cleanup efforts!” then maybe I would feel different. But I don’t think this is an environmental statement. The unpainted parts of the Styrofoam look very white and clean. They don’t look to have ever floated alongside kelp and jellyfish in the Puget Sound. On an artistic level, I don’t think it took a lot of skill to glue this Styrofoam together and give it thick coats of acrylic paint. But maybe that’s the point. Maybe Mr. Johnson is making fun of Seattle. Maybe he is saying, “Let’s see if some latte-drinking dumbass will actually pay $150 for a bunch of painted Styrofoam chunks. Or maybe there’s some deeper meaning that is just too profound for my mind to grasp. Maybe Mr. Johnson is a genius and I just can’t see it.