Much like how Banksy is known for striking in silence, leaving his audience to revel in his provocative artwork, Buttsy creates butt artwork all around town in secret.
“A lot of my friends and people who work in my industry [advertising] smoke, and they just leave their butts everywhere,” he explains. “I think that for some reason they don’t see it as trash, but I’ve been very aware of it. That’s why I decided to find a way to make people look at their butts differently.”
Every year, 1.69 billion pounds of cigarette butts become toxic trash.
The problem is that unlike most forms of littering, cigarette butts sort of get a pass in the eyes of the general public. Whether that’s because people believe they are biodegradable (myth-buster: they aren’t), or it’s become so common to see someone flick a butt into the street after smoking, we’ve become desensitized. But the reality is that it is a growing problem throughout the country, including here in Minnesota.
Locally-based artist Landon Beamer, a.k.a. Buttsy, has recognized this growing issue for several years.
The solution? Take these discarded cigarette butts and create street art, which can now be found on corners in neighborhoods throughout the Twin Cities.
The project, Butts Out of Butts, takes the cigarette butts, forms them into, well, a people butt, and then adds a unique twist. Past works have included The Patriotic Patootie, featuring cigarette butts painted red, white, and blue; The Bedazzled Badonkadonk, with jewels adorning the unmistakable outline of an ass; and Big Bird’s Big Butt, which is all yellow, and would make residents of Sesame Street proud.
In total, Beamer has created around 25 works of art since beginning the project last month. His campaign is just getting started.
“I want to keep going and see how many I can do,” he says. “I try to find themes that reflect pop culture or that everyone can connect with.”
For now, he’s planning to keep his guerrilla mASSterpieces in the Twin Cities, but as a transplant who has lived everywhere from Seattle to Boston, he hasn’t ruled out the idea of taking his butt(s) on the road.
“I’d be interested in bringing this to other places to see how it’s received,” he says. “But Minnesota seemed like such a good place for this kind of project, because it has such a thriving arts community and it’s somewhere that you can showcase your work and have people really take notice.”
While he wouldn’t fill us in on when, where, or what kind of butts we can expect to see dropping next, Beamer points out that no matter what he does or who sees it, Butts Out of Butts is something we can all identify with.
“Cigarrette butts are the number one piece of trash on Earth,” says Beamer. “Plus, everyone has a butt, so I’ll never run out of ideas.”
To see more of Beamer's butts check out his Instagram, @buttsoutofbutts.