obsessive consumption

20 Jul

I borrowed and read an awesome artist book from the library that I’d heard lots about in the past: Obsessive Consumption, what did you buy today? by Kate Bingaman-Burt, a professor at Portland State University and a true zine queen. Kate started drawing her purchases back in early 2006 as daily sketchbook doodles and she hasn’t stopped since. These simple sketches have become well-renowned and they speak of far more than just consumerism: her quirky representations make underlying comments about our material-driven culture, yet they also give us a peek into the artist’s life and their current on-goings. This book made me look into my own recent purchases a little more, (and since I’d been missing drawing so much) I was inspired to do a bit of materialistic doodling myself, Bingaman-Burt style.

75 Responses to “obsessive consumption”

  1. letizia 20/07/2012 at 18:28 #

    fascinating book…..

  2. Nicole Palmer 20/07/2012 at 20:10 #

    Thankyou for this post! I’m going to see if my library has this book!! So inspired this is the kin of books I love and it’s hard to find books like this at my library or book store . If you have any other art books you could recommend please ? :)

    • naturesmyfriend 20/07/2012 at 21:54 #

      You’re welcome Nicole! Since discovering how awesome this new library is I have been thinking of renting & reviewing art books on he regular. Look out for more posts in the future Nicole! You can also ask/remind me in your next letter and I’ll remember to write a few others down for you in my reply.

  3. Sarah Churchill (@scjammycustard) 23/07/2012 at 05:14 #

    This really is a good find! I know of a few people who do something similar, drawing the food they eat each day, but this is the first time I’ve even considered the wider theme of purchases. Really inspiring – thanks for sharing!

  4. interesting concept (if you can draw) :) . going to check out your esty shop now

  5. theliftblog 23/07/2012 at 10:29 #

    Great post! A lot of people don’t think about the real costs of consumerism or whether they are actually able to NOT buy something every day. Love the drawings and little comments! Keep it up :)

  6. bottledworder 23/07/2012 at 11:00 #

    Strange to see your purchases in a material form in front of you! Great pictures/ sketches/ book pointers. Thanks.

  7. Mikalee Byerman 23/07/2012 at 11:25 #

    “Guacamole on everything” — ha! Love it…

    Great work — love your wire shelving… ;)

  8. EzraWontShutUp 23/07/2012 at 11:34 #

    This is so neat. I want to try now!

  9. APOML 23/07/2012 at 11:40 #

    very interesting

  10. ChangeTheWorld 23/07/2012 at 11:41 #

    I’m checking this out next time I am at the library. I have read a lot about consumerism, but never seen it represented in this way. Thank you so much for sharing!


  11. pezcita 23/07/2012 at 11:56 #

    I love that style of artwork – how she uses a different color every page to keep the busy pictures visually attractive. It would be hard to imitate, but you are doing a great job at it!

  12. umanbn 23/07/2012 at 11:57 #

    Nice idea….I love drawing too but its nice to have a concept like that to work around…your sketches and blog are realy nice too…I take it yours are the last five?… :)

    • naturesmyfriend 23/07/2012 at 16:59 #

      Thanks umanbn. Yes the last five are just a little drawn spread I did in my sketchbook as an homage to Kate’s clever idea and amazing artwork.

  13. deborahatherton 23/07/2012 at 12:04 #

    What a fabulous way to do a different kind of journal, and think how much fun it will be to look at in twenty years! The wire shelving is so witty!

  14. Anna 23/07/2012 at 12:21 #

    This is wonderful, what a fascinating idea :)

  15. emmalaw 23/07/2012 at 12:27 #

    Wonderful post. Looks like a lovely book, and you could adapt the idea for personal projects. :)

  16. thoughtsaboutveganism 23/07/2012 at 12:29 #

    Reblogged this on Thoughts about veganism….

  17. Harry Davidson 23/07/2012 at 12:29 #

    I was rolling with this… until I noticed ‘avacado’.

  18. iRuniBreathe 23/07/2012 at 12:31 #

    What a great visual way to keep track of your life. It’s like you don’t get how much you eat in a day until you write it down, or make a big pile of all the food. I think having a visual notebook of your consumption habits is a great way to keep track of how obsessive things are, but also a great way to express yourself. Love your drawings.

  19. ratchet7764 23/07/2012 at 12:39 #

    Wow, I love these drawings! Very cool! I might just have to get this book. Looking forward to the next post!

  20. The Smile Scavenger 23/07/2012 at 12:45 #

    My partner and I got wire shelving like that to serve as a pantry in our tiny apartment. I don’t think I ever want to go back to traditional pantries – you can see EVERYTHING on them! No more wasted food that got buried in a dark closet corner. :D

    Perhaps I’ll invest in another one for my scrapbooking supplies… when we move to a slightly less tiny apartment.

  21. Mizz Winkens 23/07/2012 at 12:56 #

    Great post. I love that book and your own doodles Jessica. May just be giving it a go myself!

  22. voiceofculture 23/07/2012 at 13:10 #

    haha! please dont mind me saying, your doodle artistry comparably to the book you read is so good. I would love to know what the moral of the book was!

  23. thetravellingsock 23/07/2012 at 13:32 #

    Great idea! Your drawing is spectacular, and it’s a great way to keep track of everything you buy. As a student that would be a great way to “see where the money goes”… I bet it would be a big wake up call for me! Thanks for the post!


  24. settleandchase 23/07/2012 at 14:39 #

    Totally brilliant idea!

  25. Guillaume Internoscia 23/07/2012 at 14:39 #

    This make me remember of the christmas gift list that my twin brothers and me were drawing in our black book when we were kids. Umbelivable big expensive gift that we never receive. I like it.

  26. wheelofcheese 23/07/2012 at 14:46 #

    I wish I could draw! Knowing that I’d have to sketch every purchase would definitely curb my spending, improve my artistry, and keep track of what I bought so I would be more inclined to use it. Thanks for the suggestion!

  27. backpackerina 23/07/2012 at 15:32 #

    How thoughtful and interesting! It seems like a good idea for budget control too!

  28. muddledmom 23/07/2012 at 15:42 #

    Cool idea and very inspiring. Congrats on FP!

  29. becomingcliche 23/07/2012 at 15:58 #

    If I were to draw my purchases, there would be a lot of Legos, which should make it fairly easy.

  30. youthfulparaphernalia 23/07/2012 at 16:19 #

    Awesome idea, love the front cover! Do you have any other publications?

    • naturesmyfriend 23/07/2012 at 16:57 #

      Hi, as stated in the post, the book is by Kate Bingaman-Burt. The final illustrations are mine, as inspired by Kate’s artist book. She publishes a monthly zine about her consumerism on etsy (also linked in the post). My work can be found on etsy (click the link in the side bar, or shop at the top. Thanks for reading

  31. scandalousmuffin 23/07/2012 at 16:22 #

    Unique cover. Great social commentary.

  32. Aileen Torres 23/07/2012 at 18:59 #

    Cool. Interesting, creative idea.

  33. frameofyou 23/07/2012 at 19:12 #

    like the idea of sketching what you purchased on a daily basis.
    instead of snapping a picture, use your pencil or pen. nice.

  34. neverstoptravelling 23/07/2012 at 19:14 #

    Nice draw..:)

  35. youraura 23/07/2012 at 19:17 #

    I think the way these things are drawn also reveals the personality of the person drawing them. As every line, curve is drawn or every detail is added, it says a lot about who the artist is and how they see the world.

  36. shobsfunwithcolours 23/07/2012 at 22:32 #

    Thats a lovely way to represent what you are purchasing..Never knew this kind of art existed..Thanks for sharing.

  37. Richard McCargar 23/07/2012 at 23:33 #

    Do you feel as though the books require you to purchase something so that you may have at least one drawing per day? Congrats on being freshly pressed.

    • naturesmyfriend 24/07/2012 at 08:23 #

      Thanks Richard, unlike Kate Bingaman-Burt, I do not always draw my purchases. I wanted to share a few little doodles from my sketchbook that were inspired by Kate’s awesome book. I don’t think she feels pressured to buy anything in order to draw every day though. There was one sketch in the book that said “BUY NOTHING DAY” but underneath in tiny script she wrote “although I think I bought a diet coke, 70 cents.” In our culture, it seems hard to go a day without spending.

  38. 20sdiaires 24/07/2012 at 02:04 #

    Awesome! Reminds me of more beautiful versions of my “notes” in college.

  39. Marta J 24/07/2012 at 02:28 #

    Such a great idea- keeping a consumption diary! One can make an entire project/blog out of it and properly analyse the artistic, social and functional values of each items- analysing and reflecting upon the things we buy! Thanks Jessica
    Have a look at my concept blog: http://www.indigomemoirs.com

  40. Cyd 24/07/2012 at 04:23 #

    Was lucky enough to see an exhibition of her work way back when- great stuff!

  41. itssrijana 24/07/2012 at 04:32 #

    i swear i had never seen such a kind of book …i begin mine too or atleast try seems so fun

  42. Pedro Alvarez Fotografía 24/07/2012 at 04:48 #

    Me ha encantado.

  43. Kaela Moore 24/07/2012 at 06:36 #

    Such a great idea! Makes me think more about my daily purchases.

  44. erhu ianyce 24/07/2012 at 07:37 #


  45. pushpinature 24/07/2012 at 08:12 #

    Reblogged this on pushpinature and commented:
    this is a fabulous [artistic] commentary on contemporary society.

  46. Brownhills Barry 24/07/2012 at 08:56 #

    I must say that is a pretty good post that you’ve published there. I haven’t seen your blog before and “stumbled” upon this post via the Freshly Pressed section of the WordPress Dashboard thingy. I liked your post so much that I thought it deserved a few minutes of my time to leave this comment. So hence, the reason why you are reading this from me.

    I found it to be clearly presented, well written and very to the point. I’ve also enjoyed reading some of the previous comments left by other users.

    Please… please keep up the good work and I will be sure to stop by in the near future!

    Have a nice day! :-)

    Kindest regards to you…


  47. At Home With God 24/07/2012 at 10:32 #

    What a cute idea–art plus a comment on consumerism and culture! Yours were fun to see and read. :)

  48. kate bingaman burt 24/07/2012 at 10:34 #

    Holy Wow! Thanks for the wonderful response to my work. I really appreciate it! I am working on a new book which will act more like a journal for people who want to document their own purchases. It will be published next spring. Thanks again for all of the kind words.

    To respond to a few of the questions…I don’t feel pressured to purchase something everyday so I can draw it simply because we live in a culture where we are passively consuming all of the time (whether we like it or not :)

    On these days, I draw a gas bill or an internet bill or a rent bill or a insurance bill and so on and so forth.

    Again, thanks for the response. Glad you enjoy my work. Kudos to Jessica for her sketches and for writing the post.

    • naturesmyfriend 24/07/2012 at 10:38 #

      Thanks for being such an inspiration Kate, and for taking the time to visit my little blog and to respond to my readers comments! ALL AROUND WIN :)

  49. fstopfun 24/07/2012 at 12:12 #

    really awesome post : )

  50. Camila 24/07/2012 at 14:19 #

    I think I’ll give it a try. :)

  51. LucridLucifel 24/07/2012 at 14:43 #

    It’s an eye-opener. A real big one.

  52. bluegiraffeimages 24/07/2012 at 15:56 #

    Reblogged this on Blue Giraffe Images and commented:
    Great idea. With all the time I spend drawing what I buy maybe it will motivate me not to buy so much.

  53. The Shameless Idealist 24/07/2012 at 16:26 #

    Awsome post! What a phenomenal idea!!!

  54. Scintillatebrightly 24/07/2012 at 16:35 #

    Interesting idea,. Talk about putting things into perspective.

  55. samokan 24/07/2012 at 18:53 #

    I really wish I could draw :(

  56. felizabelle 24/07/2012 at 20:46 #

    Reblogged this on felizabelle.

  57. Bold Wandering 24/07/2012 at 21:33 #

    Great Post. I really enjoy your explanations for the purchases, like heavy picture frames. Thinking about drawing some of my own purchases and framing them.

  58. Aziz Ampanwala 24/07/2012 at 22:06 #

    Truly Creative … loved the drawing and artwork …..

  59. tokogabe 25/07/2012 at 00:24 #

    interesting concept

  60. Alyssa 25/07/2012 at 01:25 #

    Hmmm….great idea! I have a daily journal; I guess it would be more fun an interesting to add some sketches on it. Thanks for sharing. :D

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  61. cartoonmick 25/07/2012 at 01:59 #

    A great creative idea.

    Doodling is good practice and it can often be hard to think of things to draw.

    I like sitting in coffee shops and doing discrete pencil sketches of other customers.

    Only been caught once.

  62. home, garden, life 25/07/2012 at 04:21 #

    Congrats on FP! Drop by my world/blog! ;-)

  63. bella 25/07/2012 at 09:03 #

    Reblogged this on I write my own story. and commented:
    I want to read this..

  64. Ninay 25/07/2012 at 11:13 #

    These are great drawings! I wanna buy it, oh but that’s just a little more of obsessive consumption. :) Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  65. moderngirlsmind 25/07/2012 at 11:58 #

    I bet it’s crazy for this artist looking through her book, seeing all that she had purchased and the amount of money she had spent. Very interesting. And your pages are amazing as well.

  66. Melissa Stapleton 26/07/2012 at 15:17 #

    Reblogged this on Melissa Stapleton and commented:
    This is something I am going to try, using my photographers, capturing what I see, what I do on a daily basis and adding my own little doodles to make it into a scrapbook type, this will also be an artifact. Something to hold onto and actually feel with my bare hands.


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