SPOTLIGHT STORIES

Design in Motion: The Recycling Truck Project

As the saying goes, "one person's trash is another's treasure." The Design in Motion: The Recycling Truck Project put a unique twist on this idea by turning 20 garbage trucks into moving artworks.

DESIGN IN MOTION: THE RECYCLING TRUCK PROJECT (2009), Desirée Bender (collection: City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program)
DESIGN IN MOTION: THE RECYCLING TRUCK PROJECT (2009), Desirée Bender (collection: City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program)

In 2009 and 2010, artist Desireé Bender and Big Picture students - a non-profit educational organization - created this city-wide public art and graphic design project. The truck art was commissioned by the City of Philadelphia Streets Department Recycling Office to coincide with the introduction of Philadelphia's city-wide single-stream recycling program.

DESIGN IN MOTION: THE RECYCLING TRUCK PROJECT, Desirée Bender (2009)
DESIGN IN MOTION: THE RECYCLING TRUCK PROJECT, Desirée Bender (2009)
Detail view of 'Design in Motion' Garbage Truck featuring profile portrait silhouettes.

The many portraits on the truck take their cue from paper silhouettes, an art form which was popular during the nineteenth century, before the age of photography. Artists such as Samuel Metford used black paper and scissors to create meticulously crafted profiles of his subjects.

MACKENZIE FAMILY SILHOUETTE, 1846, Samuel Metford (collection: National Portrait Gallery)

The twenty recycling trucks feature artwork created by Big Picture students in response to their study of historical and contemporary textiles which feature elements drawn from The Design Center’s textile collection.

Now this modern art really is rubbish!

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