New York City Rubbish Art

When I first saw Justin Gignac’s New York City rubbish in a box for sale I thought it was funny. I thought some more about it and thought it was silly. But after doing even more thinking and after having a look around his website, I now think he’s pretty smart.

Most artists could learn a lot from Justin’s website and how he markets his art or rubbish, depending on which side of the fence you sit. Rubbish won’t sell itself, just like most paintings won’t sell themselves. They’re products and people need to know why they should hand over their money for the product.

new york city rubbish art

A big part of the value that Justin has created is of a gimmicky nature, and may not be very relevant to an artist painting portraits, but any artist can benefit from his Press Page online. Firstly he has a list of publications and television programs that he has appeared on, which is great for blowing your own horn and letting people know how famous you are (something a lot of artists have problems with). But he also has a pdf file Press Kit that can be downloaded. Just have a look at it here (pdf file) and ask yourself if yours is as creative and interesting as his!

I’m sure he probably contacts a lot of media organizations to let them know what he does, but even if they just turn up to his website while browsing the web, he has everything there for them on his Press Page to go forward with a story about him. He has given them the story behind his art, so the journalist doesn’t even have to try to come up with an interesting story. Journalists can be lazy or they can have short deadlines to meet, so if you give them a story to make their life easier, they may just publish it.

A lot of artists leave their creativity at the easel, which is not a good way to sell paintings. Creativity should extend to the marketing of art too.

It doesn’t surprise me to learn that when Justin Gignac isn’t picking up New York rubbish, he is an art director in the advertising industry.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. I bought one of these cubes. I agree about the marketing. It gives the trash an air of curiosity and excitment. For me it’s like sculpture collage or giving new life the commercial art. All of this stuff was visually designed by some commercial artists, consumed, pitched into the trash without another thought, then givin new life as the art they never were. It’s fun and it works on different levels.

  2. Marketing isn’t everything. There often appears to be a direct inverse relationship between the quality of art and the effort and skill put into marketing it. Trash may be well sold but it is still trash. Saatchi and the so called Brit Art movement are very good at marketing but as for the art…. On the other hand artists like Van Gogh were not very good at marketing but they created great art. Of course I am not advocating a life of mental anguish and poverty as being essential to producing great art. Just trying to point out to art collectors that a well polished turd remains just a turd.

    On a positive note I just received a card from the Cambridge Contemporary Art Gallery with this quote from Sister Wendy Beckett: “At a time when so much contemporary art is meaningless, self absorbed and visually dull, it is a joy to see the work of Paul Smith and Nicola Slattery. They celebrate a largeness of spirit, an innocence and a delight in the infinate possibilities of being human. This is magical art, pure, humorous and strong”

    I really like the term “largeness of spirit” It applies to all great art but not I think to trash.

  3. Iridescent, youre right, there’s a lot more than just good marketing happening.

    At the very least, it makes you think about what art is or isnt. And if it isnt art, it is definitely a form of community service that makes the streets a little cleaner.

    I’m starting to think the guy is a genius! ;-)

    Earl, I think it’s a form of self abuse for an artist to think that there is any relationship between good art and struggling to survive. Eating dry noodles everyday and worrying about the rent from month to month has never inspired me to pick up a brush.

    Vincent had serious mental issues, so he probably shouldnt be used as a model of how to live a happy life.

    Even if you don’t like the art/rubbish, there’s still plenty to learn from it all. If this guy can sell rubbish as art, imagine how many works an artist that “celebrates a largeness of spirit” could sell (by using Justins marketing skills).


  4. That is a very clever idea which takes art beyond the physicality of an artwork into the conceptual and the experience of an artwork.

  5. Nothing new. Decades ago modernists started to sell their own s**t packed in a cans.

    For our new-dark-ages-of-humanity, it’s not shock. It’s lack of creativity – as if someone decided to re-invent cubism.

    Micheleangelo used marble. This guy uses trash. I think, art is a link from creator’s soul to viewer’s soul. So what do you think about link made of crap?

  6. I think what he does is very interesting. If you take a look at the tickets on the street in NY and everything else. At first glance yes it may seem as if it is trash. If you take them and put them together though it really makes a statement. A meaningful one at that.
    A person can take this small piece of art and look at what’s inside and try to figure out now where did he find this..or where in NY did this part come from? I bet they make wonderful conversational pieces!

  7. At first glance it may seem that Justin’s trash cubes are a triumph of marketing over creativity.

    Hovever the discussions people’s artwork provokes are part of the artwork.

    It’s interesting, although not new (but what is?) to contemplate what art should be.

    His ‘trash cubes’ encourage participation by the audience, and he his sending a little bit of New York to cities all over the world.

    The train tickets etc are the kind of thing you might keep if you travelled to a different city; free souvenirs.

    When people say “I could make that, it’s not good artwork”, perhaps what we’re really saying is we can all be creative.

    We’re just too lazy to do so or worse that we don’t value ideas only oil paintings.

  8. P.S. didn’t we have the objet trouvĂ© debate in 1917 when Duchamp put his ‘fountain’ on show.

    I’m surprised people still get their knickers* in a twist about this really.

    *panties in U.S.

  9. I agree! What is new? Artist’s learn those that have made it,well-knowns. There is a difference between copying and carrying on someone’s idea, which by the way they would most likely want! Seeing as how most of the older artist’s are not here to carry it on themselves. Just my oppinion….to each their own. :)

  10. this is brilliant.

  11. COOL=:)

  12. Instant gratifacation to make your wishes come true,sooner or later you are going come to grips with the desire.Very Duchamp,ALSO, Clear & clean for USA.

  13. “If this guy can sell rubbish as art, imagine how many works an artist that “celebrates a largeness of spirit” could sell (by using Justins marketing skills).”

    I think art that “celebrates a largeness of spirit” doesn’t require marketing skills. Did Van Gogh require marketing skills? How “creative” was his press kit?

    The debate about “what is art?” is as tiresome and banal these days as publicity stunts like the one this guy is pulling. Call it art, call it simple production, whatever, this guy’s stuff is about as interesting as watching grass grow…or maybe about as interesting as watching his bank account grow.

    “Very Duchamp”… Womack, you should be ashamed of comparing this pet rock crap to Duchamp. Duchamp was successful at adding a new vector to the line of art history. This shill is just trying to make a buck, and with a nation of saps with disposable income and no historical context or natural compassion for humanity, he’s bound to make a bundle. More like, “very Damien Hirst”.

    And Dion, surely you were being ironic when you said that this was “community service”. Please say that you were…..

    For some good trash art, check this guy:

  14. making art + the art of selling…
    Quite a juggle

  15. You people actually buy trash in a plastic cube when there are people that are poor. Give money the money to them not a ripped newspaper in a stupid plastic cube.

  16. It’s a clever idea – captures the imagination of a moment in time. Reminds of a mix between Warhol’s concept of Pop Art and the time capsule we used to make in school. As for promotion, I think we can all learn a lot from someone who is smart enough to get national press from putting garbage in a plastic box!

  17. This man’s a genius! Coming from a small town and having never been to New York, this box contains items that depict the illusion of “New York City”, and isn’t that what art is.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Like most art these days, this has been done before. Doesn’t anyone remember the great lucite boxes filled with garbage by the incredible artist, Arman? In comparison, these “baby” boxes are about as interesting as the trash inside.

  19. If nothing else, he’s certainly clever. I use a lot of repurposed stuff in my Mixed Media pieces, but I never could have come up with selling plain old trash.

  20. It is rubbish and it is sad that it is considered humorous, cool, genius and clever.


  1. [...] art, nature’s art, easel art, weird art, word art, shock art, ugly art, toilet art, car art, rubbish art, realistic art, crazy art, money art, shit art, and so on. Everything is art, just different types [...]

  2. […] mentioned Justin Gignac’s artist press kit and his success with selling New York City garbage art earlier, which is worth checking […]

  3. […] The picture taken is of this post here about New York City Garbage. […]

  4. […] artists using toothpicks, chocolate, diamonds and skulls, dirty car windows, Lego, blood, NY rubbish, and trees doing the drawing. >> Strange Art […]

Speak Your Mind