Artist Dave Pollot takes otherwise overlooked thrift store paintings and transforms them into his own masterpieces. By seamlessly integrating elements from pop culture, the scenes featuring still lifes, boats at sea, and bucolic landscapes are given a surreal twist with additions like fast food, SpongeBob, and horror film monsters.
The ongoing project started in 2012 as a joke between Pollot and his wife. He challenged himself to take a piece of unwanted artwork, and without changing its aesthetics, make it into something that people wanted to own. This started his “obsession” with painting, and he’s been altering works ever since.
Pollot views his thrift store transformations as building a new story within the already existing composition. “I’ve always loved the idea that art is deeply personal,” Pollot explains to My Modern Met. “I’m telling my own story with each piece, but every one is a little bit like a mirror, reflecting its meaning back to the viewer through his or her individual perception.”
On a larger scale, Pollot’s portfolio makes us think about an artwork’s place throughout time. “I think that my body of work has challenged the idea that any single piece of artwork is without a place, especially if it can be retrofitted to reflect a more culturally relevant set of ideas,” he says. “It’s also questioned the idea of who (generationally and otherwise) can claim ownership of the pop culture of a given time period—it’s sought to introduce a younger audience to older artistic styles and a potentially older audience to a broader set of pop culture.”
Artist Dave Pollot takes discarded thrift store paintings and transforms them into pop culture-inspired contemporary art.
Pollot recently completed his own fundraiser based on artist Maurizio Cattelan’s installation Comedian that appeared at Miami Art Basel.
Cattelan secured a banana to the wall with duct tape, sold with a price between $120,000 and $150,000. “Contemporary art can be, well, interesting,” Pollot writes in an Instagram post. “What’s even more ridiculous is that these things can happen while people have little or nothing to eat.” In response, he painted a giant banana duct-taped to mountains and auctioned it via his Instagram. Pollot’s artwork sold for $4,500, with 90% of the price going to The Hunger Project.