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Artist tackles roadside trash with awareness campaign

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Artist Quentin Warren collected these boxes of recyclable refuse along a stretch of road in rural Greene County. He's also using discarded items to share messages that discourage littering.

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The Wilson Times

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

SNOW HILL — Quentin Warren is working to clean up his corner of rural Greene County and using his creativity to spread a conservation message.

The artist, who sells his work at the corner of Fort Run and Bullhead roads northwest of Snow Hill, has been collecting roadside trash such as fast-food bags, glass and plastic bottles, aluminum cans and diapers. An animal rescuer, Warren reuses large, sturdy dog food bags to stow the garbage.

In addition to the cleanup, Warren is using discarded materials to raise awareness of littering and pollution. Mattresses, appliances and other large items are painted with the message “Litter = Loser” and displayed as miniature billboards. He’s also spelled out the word “Green” in plastic soda bottles and drew a distressed man’s face with oil spurting from his head on a plastic motor oil container.

“How much effort does it take not to roll your window down and throw out your trash, but just wait till you get home or find the nearest garbage can?” Warren said in an email.

The volunteer cleanup effort and the litter-inspired artwork combine to form Warren’s ongoing “Keep Greene Green” project.

Some messages are positive and some are meant to shame litterbugs into changing their ways. One of Warren’s new slogans is “Litterers Practice Ditchcraft.”

“Ditches flow into creeks, into rivers, into the ocean,” he said, “so you are polluting your own water and food.”

Warren said he has been told that inmates no longer pick up roadside trash, leaving the thankless task to volunteers.

“Don’t worry, the prison crews will get it” is the wrong attitude to have, he said.

“The ‘like-me’ generation needs to wake up before Mother Earth turns on us,” Warren said. “Enough is enough.”

A self-described “starving artist,” Warren sells his paintings, sketches and found pieces at the crossroads near his home and uses proceeds to pay veterinary bills and buy food for the dogs he rescues in addition to providing for his own living expenses.

Prospective buyers and those interested in helping with cleanup efforts can email Warren at qw2477@gmail.com.

“Please help keep Greene green,” he said, “and wherever you live, take time to put trash in its place, recycle and even repurpose like I do with my art.”

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