The visual artist who goes by “Finley” will be dressing up a couple of New York City dumpsters today, and she aims to spruce up more in the months ahead.

This story first appeared in the January 8, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

On a mission to whip up “polite graffiti,” she will blanket two dumpsters with wallpaper donated by some set designer friends outside of the New Museum this afternoon. The Pratt alum then plans to take her trash-enhancing project on the road to Los Angeles, followed by 10 European cities. She also said she is in talks with executives at Chelsea Sanitation Service about redesigning their dumpsters.

Finley, whose given name is Christine Finley, welcomes any copycats who might be inspired by her project even if they choose to do something similar for advertising purposes. In fact, she is so intent that she will make a how-to-jazz-up-a-dumpster short film and radio show, while she is doing just that today from 3 to 6 p.m. “I love when people take an idea and re-create it,” she said. “That’s one of the great things about art — you can beg, borrow and steal. There are no rights or copyrights. It’s all free.”

Based in Rome, Finley has fallen into some good fortune. Eszter Cohen, a 28-year-old Hungarian woman who models herself after Peggy Guggenheim and is using her inheritance to provide grants to Finley and other women in the arts, agreed to finance the artist’s New York sojourn. Finley will return to Italy in a few days where she is the first artist-in-residence benefiting from the generosity of fashion designer Gai Mattiolo, who plans to provide apartments, design studio space and a creative community for six or seven more. “It’s been a great place to bloom and work and grow,” Finley said.

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