January my month of joy and happiness

Usually, I find January is the most difficult month of living here in Toronto. The streets are full of either snow or ice and weather sometimes reach to -20C and the sky is always grey.. Some morning it was hard for me to leave my warm bed and bundle up to take the bus and subway to go to my studio. However it changed since the first day of the year.

During the Christmas holiday, I had an idea of making art out of the paper shopping bags I had saved.

My idea was to remake them as one of a kind art. I first draw and then cutting image on them.

I would choose an image to go with either with the logos or the color. Often, I added some of my own whimsical take on their name or design.. As soon as I completed the first one I knew I had started something enjoyable and fun. Ideas just started to flow as soon as I picked up the bag. Pretty soon I used up all the bags I had saved and I need more.

Gap as Crab

Gap as Crab

Luckily, my studio is close to the biggest shopping mall (Eaton Centre) in downtown. During the mid afternoon, I would walk over there to look for bags from the trash bins. This three levels mall has about three hundred stores so discarded shopping bags are plentiful. It was like my own free art supply store but never know what type of bags waiting for me.

Whenever I found a nice or interesting one, I had that feeling of excitement and joy. An hour later I would be back at my studio and eager to work on the bag make over.

Some morning, I was so focus on what I wanted to do with the bags I would get up at 5am when it was still dark outside and arrived at my studio at 8am. My cold, grey January days seemed easy to deal with.

Starbucks shopping bag

Starbucks shopping bag

I haven’t touch my paint brushes all month and been only focus on my “Shopping Bag Make Over”. So far I had completed 36 of them and each one is different from the others and my month of January was full of joy and happiness.

From shopping bags to shoppers’ behavior

 My “shopping bags make over” project is approaching its first month. Since I been collecting the shopping bags at the large local mall near my studio. I also discover some rather interest facts about our Canadian shoppers’ behavior:

 1)      Most high end shoppers shop on Saturday: I found more shopping bags from high end stores on that day than during the week and they usually were discarded within steps from the store.

2)       Our Canadian Shoppers are the modest ones: They do not like to hang on certain type of bags, such as Victoria secret bag which in bright pink might attract too much attention. My guess is women do not wanted people to know they just brought under garments. Another one is the Abercrombie bag which has a bare chest image on both side of the bag. I think the shoppers likely consider as being too sexy. So on any given days, I found many of them.

shopping bag make over

shopping bag make over

 3)      The less expensive stores’ bags are harder to come by as the shoppers would keep it and take home with.

4)      Monday and Tuesday are the slowest of the shopping days and once around Thursday business start to pick up again. Most shopping is done on Saturday.

5)      Some shoppers would wear their newly purchase clothing after trying it on and discard the ones they came in as soon as they left the store. ( I had found jeans, shoes in some of those bags and sometime even small changes.)

6)       Shoppers are not interested in Cosmetic samples or store catalogus often are discarded as soon as they walk out the store.

Shopping bag make over

Shopping bag make over