Paper or Plastic? Make Mine Art!

March 2, 2009 at 8:57 pm 11 comments

This is just for fun. I got some boring reusable shopping bags at my local grocery store. They’re supposed to eliminate all those wasteful plastic and paper grocery bags we’ve all been using once and throwing away all these years. It’s a good idea, but the reusable bags are ugly. I decided to do something about that.

Reusable grocery bags with horrid logos

Reusable grocery bags with horrid logos

For a buck or two you can get a cheap, ugly, reusable grocery bag. It’ll hold up to lots of shopping trips. Of course it’s branded with the awful logo of your local supermarket. I find this rather offensive. You paid for the thing! The least it could be is unobtrusive, if not actually decorative. I figure, if they want me to advertise for them, they should be paying me, not the other way around.

So my first thought was I could just cover up the stupid logo. The particular bags I got are black. I have black gesso, I could just gesso over the logos and make myself some ultra-cool stealthy black grocery bags. No logos, no nothing.

Applying black gesso

Applying black gesso

But then I thought, heck, I’m an artist. Why not paint on the bags and make them little works of art? Grocery bag art!

“Paper or plastic?” Neither! Make mine art!

Here’s the first one:

"Fried Egg Galaxy" acrylic paint on shopping bag by Barbara J Carter

"Fried Egg Galaxy" acrylic paint on shopping bag by Barbara J Carter

I’ll show you more as I finish them up.


Entry filed under: Abstract, Acrylic, Grocery Bags, Painting.

New Painting: “Dots 2” Grocery Bag Art


  • 1. Zachary Brown  |  March 3, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    This is so awesome! Coincidentally we just got 2 canvas bags from our grocery store (Publix here in GA) I never thought to doctor them up!

  • 2. barbarajcarter  |  March 4, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Go for it! Better than the stupid store logo.

  • 3. Kerryn Madsen-Pietsch  |  March 6, 2009 at 4:13 am

    I agree with you that these ‘black’ bags are just ugly and unsightly and that the logo advertising is worse.
    The need, you would think, is to encourage people to buy and use them.
    In my part of the world – North Queensland, Australia – the bags are a mid GREEN (for environment message) at present and any printed advertising is minimal and usually with a friendly eco message.

    Black in our hot and humid tropical climate would not ever be a choice – for starters, laying around in a house, car would attract the mould, spiders, mosquitoes , and if in the boot of a car, which is often a dark colour, would be hard to see them.

    You could be as bold as to contact the company and show them what you are doing. They may even employ adopt your fine aesthetics. 🙂

  • 4. Grocery Bag Art « Barbara J Carter  |  March 6, 2009 at 11:57 am

    […] 6, 2009 Here’s another grocery bag turned into an art object by moi: "Ring Galaxy" acrylic paint on plastic shopping bag by Barbara J […]

  • 5. barbarajcarter  |  March 6, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Thanks Kerryn! It does remain to be seen how these bags hold up in the heat of a car parked in the hot summer sun. I usually like to leave bags in my car in case spontaneous grocery shopping occurs, but I might have to take these into the house between shopping trips. We’ll see.

  • 6. Another Art Bag « Barbara J Carter  |  March 9, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    […] it looks vaguely astronomical to you, that’s great! I meant for the 4 bags to depict four different kinds of galaxies, in an artistically-inspired kind of way. The first one […]

  • 7. hanne~  |  March 12, 2009 at 4:42 am

    what a great idea!

  • 8. The Mandala Lady  |  March 24, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Brilliant! Your art & the grocery bag idea. Thanks for sharing. re: sun/fading issues? spray it with a UV protectant spray, it will at least preserve it longer than without it.

  • 9. QuinnCreative  |  April 26, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    This is a brilliant idea! I feel the same way about logos–they have more gall than the common bile duct to make you pay to drag their logos around!

    I LOVE the bag–very stylish and perfect for your art. Good for you!

  • 10. Amy  |  July 17, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    That bag is really great! I was searching for someone who had dome this with acrylic paint and I wanted to see how they’ve held up. Does the paint peel or crack? Thanks for the tip!

  • 11. barbarajcarter  |  July 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks Amy! It’s now more than a year later and the paint is holding up really well. The colors seem to have faded a little, probably from the heat. But definitely no cracking or peeling!

Barbara J Carter

I'm an artist. I make paintings with dots.

I work in acrylic paint, in a couple of distinct styles: landscapes and abstracts.

Native to California, I've lived elsewhere and only recently returned to my home state. I now live in Los Angeles.

I mostly show my art in outdoor festivals in California. I also occasionally show my work in art galleries or open studio events. You can see an up-to-date list of upcoming shows on my website (click here).

I invite you to sign up to receive my free email newsletter, in which I list my upcoming shows and talk about my latest work. I send it irregularly, a few times a year.

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Follow me on Twitter: @barbarajcarter

Why I call my landscapes neo-Pointillist landscape paintings

A bunch of my abstract dot paintings

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