Encouraged by the Bottom 10 percent

"Can" you make it across (click to enlarge)

If you’ve been to Hong Kong, have you noticed the flashing man on the WALK signs look uncharacteristically overweight? Occasionally in NYC, you can see WALK and DON’T WALK lighted simultaneously, but have you ever seen a WALK sign made entirely out of cans of food.

Massive structures are built using cans of food as part of a design competition with the winners displayed at the World Financial Center in Manhattan. The event is sponsored by Canstruction which uses cans of food as a catalyst for change. When the structures are dismantled after November 21st, the food is donated to City Harvest,who uses the cans to feed hungry people.

While most structures are incredible, pointing to one that seemed lesser, I friend surprised me by saying , “if I could do that, It’s not very good.” Conversely and thinking back many years when I first started painting,

Why so angry? (click to enlarge)

I would go to group art exhibitions and feel challenged by the best watercolors yet encouraged by the bottom 10 percent. I would say “I could do that!”

The same sentence, “I could do that” can evoke opposite responses between people. Do you compare your abilities with professional athletes while watching a football game and say, if I could catch that ball, the player must not be very good? Why is our creativity so difficult to accept? Perhaps we could recast our self image on creativity, especially if we see proof that we can do something other creative people are doing.

Which one is your favorite? See more photos of the constructions

Tuna Fish Laces

Tree and roots

Sea Horse

Upside down house - like many morgages



Brooklyn Bridge



  1. Oh wow those are creative. I like the sea horse best. I catch myself saying “I could have done that” but in reality coming up with the idea is the tough part. I could try to build the upside down house using the picture and it might seem easy, but to have come up with the idea and build it originally is very different. I don’t think I could do that. What a fascinating exhibit.
    Melinda recently posted..How to Fall Out of a Car GracefullyMy Profile

  2. I like the seahorse too! and thanks for bringing up an excellent point Melinda – the idea and the execution are two different things. Sometimes the most elegant designs are simple and can be easily copied.

    Most of us put away our groceries in the pantry and don’t normally think about using cans as building blocks but if we did, who knows what we would come up with.
    David Goldstein recently posted..Encouraged by the Bottom 10 percent My Profile

  3. Wow art made out of cans they really look good and very creative. I wonder how much time they spend creating such a beautiful art work.

  4. ava21smith says:

    wow, very creative. i have never seen such amazing art out of canned goods, perfect for a grocery stores/supermarkets.

  5. While the can constructions are very good (and cute) I’m a little dismayed at them, because I think we’ve got enough ‘litter’ and does it really need to be made into art?

    I stopped comparing myself to other artists some years ago, and I’m much happier for it. I have my own style.
    Val recently posted..What I plan to do with my lifeMy Profile

    • thanks Val. What you learned years ago is valuable to everyone and I appreciate your mentioning it! We should not compare ourselves or our artwork to others but appreciate our own style!

      I’m not sure we have the same definition for litter or perhaps in the UK, you aren’t familiar with the work of CityHarvest – These cans are full of food and where donated. When the exhibition ended, they were distributed to hungry people in need. Hopefully they will not become liter. Thanks for commenting!
      David Goldstein recently posted..Encouraged by the Bottom 10 percent My Profile

  6. RachelAng34 says:

    Wow, It’s truly a work of art, I do really like the Titanic. Is this empty cans or not.

  7. That looks awesome! Did they use empty cans? I wonder how long it took them to finish one. Totally love the seahorse!

  8. oh gosh! those are amazing and one creative art. i like the seahorse the most. and the contents goes to charity? aawww.

  9. I have never imagine they can make the best designs out of empty cans? I love the angry birds and Titanic! The sinking ship really amazed me..

  10. what a great collections of creative arts! they are so cool!

  11. those are awesome pieces of art! wow @.@

  12. olivia34newton says:

    WOW! i have never seen such creative arts like this, can’t wait to see more amazing piece of arts.

  13. This is amazing..I haven’t seen this kind of art its really great idea..Thank you for sharing this to us..

  14. A colleague linked me to this site. Thank you for the information.