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A Small Works Found Art Show by James Ramirez

Trashed Can Art James Rameriz Photo
Jim Ramirez at his show Trashed Can Art at the Bunker in Kansas City, MO. Photo by Kat Day

I’ve been creating assemblage art out of found objects for years. Trinkets. Trash. Wood, metal, glass. I started picking up spent bottle caps for no reason, and it became an obsession. I’d even seek them out in some pretty dangerous places. Like snowflakes,

no two bottle caps are alike. Smashed cans were also everywhere, but I refused to pick them up. I already had my head full of bottle caps. Then, one day, I saw two smashed cans lying side-by-side, looking up at me. And looking down at them I realized they were

spent and cast out, just like the bottle caps. So I gave in and started picking them up, too,

with no idea what I was going to do with all these brand-new, beautiful things that I found

in the street.


As an artist, I wait patiently for the next project to appear. I don’t force it. Over time

I notice things that are supposed to be art and pick up things that don’t know that they are. I never know what’s going to come together, but sooner or later, without any deep thought on my part, something will.

Photo o fJim Rameriz process of making his Trashed Can Art.

One night, out of the blue, I thought, cut the smashed cans into one-inch squares and make simple abstract designs out of them. Lightning Bolt. So, I started cutting up the cans and playing around. As I did this I was reminded of the mosaic tile walls by Jackie Ferrara that decorate the Grand Central subway station in New York. They are among the most incredible (minimal) designs that I have ever seen, and I’m sure my memory of them is coming into play.

Some of these cans had just been tossed out, and some were so distressed, paper-thin, and faded by the sun who knows how many times they’d been run over or how long they’d been out there. I picked up a smashed Budweiser can, but I couldn’t cut it up. It was too perfect just the way it was. It had a personality to it, almost a sadness. I decided to try making it the centerpiece, designing around it with the one inch squares... and finally, something had come together.


I started looking through all the cans for more of these special ones that spoke to me, but there were very few. So I went looking for them. This quickly proved to be a waste

of time. I could find smashed cans everywhere, but these special ones that become a centerpiece find me when I’m not even looking. In some of the strangest places. So far, out of the hundreds of cans that I’ve collected, very few have.


I left them Untitled, letting the viewer decide what each piece says to them.


And I still have my head full of bottle caps.


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