Junk drawers. We all have them. A junk drawer is a place where you keep everything that you don’t want and will never use, but that you can’t throw away on the off chance you might actually use it someday. Sometimes its where you throw random little knick-knacks picked up from who-knows-where that you aren’t sure what to do with, but hold some kind of sentimental value. That is a junk drawer. They can be found in bedrooms, garages, kitchen, desks, etc. Any enclosed space that can be filled with small and (generally) useless objects, has the potential of becoming a junk drawer. After successfully filling such a drawer with random and seemingly pointless things, you usually don’t go through it again. Once something enters the drawer, it usually does not come back out. On the off chance that you actually go through your junk drawer and attempt to clean it out, there is one artist who would happily buy the junk from you and repurpose it.

Artist Jil Weinstock purchases the contents of junk drawers off of websites like eBay and Craigslist from all over the country. After purchasing her materials, she embeds the objects in a translucent rubber. Weinstock layers the objects at different distances in the rubber so that when the box is illuminated from the back, some of the objects appear slightly hazy, while some are very clear. Each box is attached to the wall, and illuminated by white, yellow, or orange light. After making several of these “shadow boxes” of junk turned art, Weinstock put together an exhibition called Things Arranged Neatly.

Weinstock is taking objects that are old and broken, pointless and useless, that never see the light of day, and she gives them new meaning. She brings to light the things that we keep tucked away in dark corners of our lives. The things we don’t bother to go through, and don’t feel like dealing with. Every person is different, and certain objects will mean exponentially different things to different people. What I consider junk, someone else might consider treasure, and vice versa. That’s the big meaning behind Things Arranged Neatly.

Looking at such a collection of random things, exemplifies that people have a tendency to collect things that we think are interesting or special, that the general public would think of as junk. By taking them out of their drawers, arranging them in a neat fashion, setting them artistically in gel, and shining light on them, Weinstock transforms junk into something more memorable. Seeing such random objects in a new light, allows the audience to view them the way the original owner might have viewed them: with interest.

Weinstock organized her junk drawer boxes by the person’s name that the “junk” originally belonged too. Looking at each box, one can see that some drawers held a specific purpose and contained similar items, whereas some drawers were completely random. Having all of these items out in the open with some light to see them better, the items of junk drawers can say a lot about their owner. Hints can be gathered about these people’s daily lives and personalities. One box contained nothing more than tools, but they were all the color blue. Whoever owned them before obviously liked the color blue, and perhaps was a mechanic or builder. If a box contained art supplies, we could guess that its previous owner was a painter of some kind.

While this article does not toe the line between art and crime, it is fairly interesting. It is very fascinating how you can tell a significant amount about a person based solely by what they keep in their junk drawers. It is shown that there is a deep human desire to keep and house things that we know are essentially useless, but are important to us at the same time.

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