Most of us would walk by an old food can on the street without another thought, but renowned street artist My Dog Sighs turns trash into treasure. The artist founded the Free Art Friday project, which involves transforming found materials into free art. Each week, he—and other artists who are taking part—leave a new piece on the street for anyone to find, take home, and cherish. For the last 10 years, My Dog Sighs’ particular choice of found material has been the humble tin can.
From a discarded soup tin to an old condensed milk can, My Dog Sighs squishes down each 3D, cylindrical form into a flat canvas and then paints realistic faces onto the rounded ends. The artist’s ever-growing family of can characters include people, cats, dogs, and even Star Wars’ Yoda. No matter the subject, each piece has a story to tell and is sure to brighten the day of whoever happens to stumble across it.
“By painting them I was able to give them a second chance,” says My Dog Sighs. “I gave them lost melancholic faces in order that anyone walking past would feel compelled not to ignore them but to cherish and want to give them a new home.” The artist highlights the issues of our throwaway society and consumerist culture. He says, “If I can show how, with a little love, creativity, and effort, how even a rusty old food tin can become so cherished, that people are willing to take it in and give it a new home, then maybe what I thought was a personal street art project from someone not brave enough to paint on walls is actually a heavily socio-political act that causes us to look at homelessness and consumerism in a different way.”