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Wallpapering over the trash

  • American artist wallpapers dumpsters to highlight wasteful society
  • Dumpsters in New York, L.A. and Rome have all been 'beautified'
  • Artist C. Finley calls her work 'polite graffiti'

(CNN) -- American artist C. Finley has taken it upon herself to perform interventions in the street. She doesn't help addicts kick their habit, but wallpapers dumpsters, what she classes as "urban interventions".

Part of her motivation is to make us question our own wasteful consumer habits.

"I want to inspire people to rethink consumption and urban waste," she told CNN via email.

So far the 34-year-old from Missouri has beautified dumpsters in LA, New York and Rome using scraps of wallpaper given to her by fellow artists and photographers.

"This is a considerate way of asking people to look again. I think genteel and delicate hand silk-screened wallpaper has a transformative effect on the brutish dumpster. I believe we are responsible for our city, to do what we can to transform, from the top down and from the dumpster up."

Now living in Rome, C. Finley first thought of the project while transforming a shipping container into an arts installation in the port of Los Angeles.

During the long days, she began to wonder how a baroque pattern on an anonymous metal container would look.

"I was already painting on wallpaper and using it in collage, but I wanted to make an intervention that would transform trash and the way we think about it. I think with these urban 'throwaway zones,' people do their best not to look at them because they're ugly," she said.

"Wallpapered dumpsters transform environmental activism into unexpected beauty. I like to think of these interventions as polite graffiti. This project is an inquiry into urban waste, free art, and notions of femininity, beauty and domesticity."

So far Finley says the public has reacted to her work "with a lot of love."

With 15 more rolls of donated wallpaper she has dumpsters belonging to more high-profile owners in her sights before heading to back to Europe -- and hopefully getting a grant to continue the wallpaper dumpsters and other projects.

"I am day dreaming of working with the Mayor of New York. I also have an interactive graffiti project happening around urban waste zones. It is a large, yellow wheat paper pasted to dumpsters or near throw away zones. It resembles an office message pad, but other people fill in the blanks, time, date, name, and message."