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OKC company turning big bins into canvases

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Brian Meister, owner of Scissortail Waste Solutions, has partnered with Oklahoma City artists to paint some of his rental dumpsters. Local artist Virginia Sitzes finished the first dumpster last month. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman]
Brian Meister, owner of Scissortail Waste Solutions, has partnered with Oklahoma City artists to paint some of his rental dumpsters. Local artist Virginia Sitzes finished the first dumpster last month. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma City may have just birthed a new art movement: abstract dumpsterism.

In a warehouse on the northwest side of town on a recent Thursday afternoon, print maker and painter Virginia Sitzes put the finishing strokes on a then-untitled pastel piece that spanned most of one side of an industrial-sized trash container.

With a streak of purple paint across her right eyebrow, Sitzes gazed upon her work and grinned.

“It’s fun translating how I paint smaller paintings onto a —” she paused. “Dumpster?”

The piece was the first one completed for Brian Meister, owner of Scissortail Waste Solutions, a dumpster rental company that serves construction companies, home remodelers and general junk-tosser-outters who prefer a good-looking bin on site, rather than a big green bucket of graffiti and rust.

Scissortail’s standard dumpsters are sleek, painted in red and gray, and emblazoned with the company’s logo and phone number. Earlier in the day, a man dropped by the business to tell Meister his dumpsters were the cleanest he’s ever seen.

The new partnership between Meister and the Oklahoma City art community started when he met Sitzes through one of his employees. Sitzes is a co-founder of Art Group, an emerging collective of metro area artists.

Meister, a former full-time youth pastor, is more than happy to let the artists turn his dumpsters into canvases. To appropriate a biblical phrase, they gave him beauty for ashes.

“We’re highlighting local artists, which is unique,” Meister said. “Every three to four months, we’re going to highlight different artists in town.”

While Scissortail is a private business, from Sacramento, California, to Washington, D.C., cities and neighborhood associations across the United States have commissioned artists to beautify their dumpsters. Some have gone so far as to have annual dumpster painting contests.

In recent years, the city of Valdosta, Georgia, partnered with local artists to beautify dumpsters around town.

"We have a couple near City Hall," city spokeswoman Ashlyn Becton said.

In Oklahoma City, Meister is excited to bring art to unexpected parts of town as his dumpsters become mobile art installations.

“We move trash,” he said. “That’s all we do. But we’re also moving art around the city.”

With the purple paint still streaked in her right eyebrow, Sitzes reflected on her painting philosophy. It sounded much like life, and how she ended up in a creative partnership with a trash man.

“Every move informs the other,” she said.

Related Photos
<strong>Virginia Sitzes pours paint for her dumpster painting.</strong>

Virginia Sitzes pours paint for her dumpster painting.

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d0dd378dbcaf9b1a1d18b70d166dcfc5.jpg" alt="Photo - Virginia Sitzes pours paint for her dumpster painting. " title=" Virginia Sitzes pours paint for her dumpster painting. "><figcaption> Virginia Sitzes pours paint for her dumpster painting. </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-4ef2d70b9af3a49a8a7623d110039ec7.jpg" alt="Photo - Brian Meister, owner of Scissortail Waste Solutions, has partnered with Oklahoma City artists to paint some of his rental dumpsters. Local artist Virginia Sitzes finished the first dumpster last month. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman] " title=" Brian Meister, owner of Scissortail Waste Solutions, has partnered with Oklahoma City artists to paint some of his rental dumpsters. Local artist Virginia Sitzes finished the first dumpster last month. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Brian Meister, owner of Scissortail Waste Solutions, has partnered with Oklahoma City artists to paint some of his rental dumpsters. Local artist Virginia Sitzes finished the first dumpster last month. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Josh Dulaney

Josh Dulaney joined The Oklahoman in November 2016. Dulaney is a California Newspaper Publishers Association award winner for his writing. In both 2018 and 2019 he earned newspaper writer of the year honors from the Great Plains Journalism Awards. Read more ›

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