'Squatter' turns blight into art - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

'Squatter' turns blight into art

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Dale Bowden, 54, said if it looks neat and can be used then it becomes part of his art project outside of an overgrown building off Jackson Avenue and Scott Street. Dale Bowden, 54, said if it looks neat and can be used then it becomes part of his art project outside of an overgrown building off Jackson Avenue and Scott Street.
All the items he found for the project were dumped in a junk yard behind him. All the items he found for the project were dumped in a junk yard behind him.
By making art work from trash, he hopes he will empower others to clean up their community. By making art work from trash, he hopes he will empower others to clean up their community.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A Memphis squatter took an active and artistic approach to cleaning up an abandoned and blighted area. The bright pride he put into the property caught the attention of many across the Mid-South.

Dale Bowden, 54, said if it looks neat and can be used then it becomes part of his art project outside of an overgrown building off Jackson Avenue and Scott Street.

"There's nothing for sale. Nothing nobody would want to steal," said Bowden referring to his yard covered in safety yellow paint and art. "I wanted to do an experiment with color."

The paint on an in-depth structure including shoes, jackets, basketballs, mannequins, gloves, masks, car parts, and much more comes from a two gallon can that he found.

All the items he found for the project were dumped in a junk yard behind him.

"When I found this place it was the scariest place that I'd ever seen," said Bowden.

He found it last November, full of trash and opportunity.

"I'm just going to clean up around here, and the more that I cleaned up, the more that it brought a level of respectability to the property that they didn't have before," said Bowden.

Even the property's owner liked what he saw, and told Bowden, who was squatting, that he could stay.

"I just made this out of masking tape," said Bowden describing a monkey structure he made out a clothes hanger, masking tape, and paint.

By making art work from trash, he hopes he will empower others to clean up their community.

The owner of the property offered to pay Bowden for his work, but he refuses to take money.

Instead he hopes that he will eventually get the resources to teach others to find art in trash, and in turn clean-up their neighborhoods and abandoned properties.

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