DIY Duchamp: In Fresno Art Museum’s ‘Trashique,’ a new cycle of artistic inspiration

UPDATE: Our lucky winner is Adrienne Lucero. She gets two tickets to tonight’s “Trashique.”

ORIGINAL POST: Pattie Wilkinson didn’t think she had much in common with Marcel Duchamp when she picked him as her inspiration artist for “Trashique 2018,” the swanky Fresno Art Museum fundraiser that has emerged in recent years as a clever juxtaposition of fashion show, art history lesson, dazzling social event and recycling pep rally.

Wilkinson, who has had a long career designing trade-show displays and as a consultant in the arts and crafts industry — and is an experienced crafter herself — grew up learning to make practical things such as clothes and Christmas gifts. (She came from a family of modest means.) Duchamp, on the other hand, the famed French painter and sculptor, is known for his contributions to Cubism and his groundbreaking contributions to conceptual art. One of his best known pieces involved taking a commonplace urinal, titling it “Fountain” and in 1917 submitting it to an art exhibition. It was a moment that rocked the art world.

Win two tickets to “Trashique 2018,” which for the first year is being held in an airplane hanger. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post telling us the most surprising thing you ever found in the trash. (Or, if you don’t have a good Dumpster Diver story, just tell us why you want to go.) Deadline to enter is 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22.

But thanks to “Trashique,” an event featuring glamorous (if not always practical) fashions made from recycled materials, the always-up-for-a-challenge Wilkinson found herself paired with none other than the “urinal guy.”


“I felt it would be a really good way to stretch my imagination,” says Wilkinson, who is involved as an artist in her fourth Trashique.

She turned to another famed work by Duchamp to offer her a blueprint of sorts for the garments she’s made for the show. (The event, which was created for the museum by Fresno interior designer Roseanne Guaglianone, debuts in a new location, a private airplane hanger, on Saturday, Feb. 24.) That piece is “Bicycle Wheel” and consists of, not surprisingly, a bicycle wheel attached to a barstool.

“At first I looked at it and thought, ‘That’s so silly,’ “ Wilkinson says. “But then I started to research him. And I learned a lot.”

For one thing, she appreciated Duchamp’s use of circles in his work. She also found a photograph of a “really bizarre” art installation that Duchamp once put together made entirely of string.

“I know a lot about string,” she says in a recent interview at her Fresno home. “And my husband is a cyclist. I knew I could do this.”

The result: two art-inspired costumes, one to be worn by a woman model (Chloe Tatro), and the other by a male model (Tommy Guerrero).

The woman is in white, wearing a hoop-style skirt and harnessed to a large wheel on her back with a rim of erratic “spokes” consisting of white yarn, ribbon and plastic palette straps. The man is wearing black and will hold two real (recycled) bicycle wheels. He’s also harnessed to a large custom-made wheel, this one with a rim and spokes made of black palette straps and garden materials.


The large wheels harnessed onto the models’ backs were inspired by a viewing of the Victoria’s Secret TV fashion show, where Wilkinson noted the use of “angel wings” on those models. It’s a master touch, playing with scale to give a sense of grandeur to the creations.

“I know that sounds really ‘low’ for an artist to talk about getting an idea from TV, but that’s where it came from,” she says with a laugh.

She spent about 40 hours working on the two pieces.

Now that she’s a “Trashique” veteran, she has a winning game plan down: The most important thing, Wilkinson says, is finding something recyclable in abundance. (Whatever you’re going to use as an artist, you’re going to need a lot of it.) She knew she could find a use for palette ties, so she asked her contacts at Duncan Enterprises many months ago to set aside all the white and black ones they could.

As a professional crafter, she has an impressive resume that includes teaching and consulting in China and France, co-hosting the “Aleene’s Creative Living” craft/DIY television daily program on TNN, and millions of views on her YouTube channel “Pattiewack Designs.” She counts decoupauge, mixed media, assemblage and seamstressing among her many talents. (You can even find some of her crafts inventions for sale at

“Trashique” has given her the opportunity to expand her fine-arts knowledge. (Maybe she can weave Duchamp into one of her YouTube videos.) And just as Duchamp’s venture into Dadaism with his “Fountain” forever altered the lowly urinal’s place in the art pantheon, Wilkinson’s own experience with the Fresno Art Museum’s popular event has affected her relationship with something in her everyday life as well.

“It’s changed the way I look at trash,” she says.

“Trashique 2018”

Doors open 7:30 p.m. for general admission, fashion show starts at 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 24, Signature Flight Support (at Fresno Yosemite International Airport), 3050 N. Winery Ave., Fresno. $85.

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

Comments (22)

  • Gloria Burrola

    I can’t say that I have ever dumpster dived, but I do know lots of good useable things are discarded. I remember seeing a documentary about a dumpster diver who was instrumental in getting Trader Joe’s to donate its “expired” food to food banks.

    I am so excited about this show not just for the fabulous fashions but that it is also for the benefit of the Fresno Art Museum.

  • Amy Roberts

    Sounds fun!

  • Karen Hau

    Best find ever – one coffee table , one side table and two bar stools ! Wait , there was a five chest drawer as well.. all at one dive !!

  • Jasmin Kloos

    You had me at Duchamp . . . I would love to see anything inspired by this artist. I still have the bookcase I pulled from the trash pickup over 25 years ago, it has made it through two moves.

  • Thank you Donald for your dedication to all of of Fresno’s art expressions and community enrichment programs. Your writing about us keeps the cultural fabric here strong!

  • Denise Dibenedetto

    I have always wanted to attend, and this year would be perfect there are so many bad events surrounding my life that i need inspiration from the show so I can turn my trash into something beautiful.

  • Cindy Lucero

    While working at Sbarros during college, I found a wallet in the trash can with credit cards, license, and cash . I contacted the person who owned it ! The owner stopped by while I was at Not there & left me & $50.00 as a thank you 😀

  • Adele Graves

    Not me but my mother in the 50s.
    Found enough beautiful suede cut into culots for a huge woman. She made a beautiful cowgirl outfit, skirt and vest with fringe. It’s framed and hangs in grandsons room with his grandpas framed cowboy chaps and vest.
    Would love to see the show!

  • Jared Serpa

    I’ve found pretty nice couches and pairs of shoes on the side of the road, but that’s not really dumpster diving. I did used to have a friend in elementary school who would perfer to eat food out of the trash rather than what was given to us.

  • Beatrice Ayala Valenzuela

    Every morning I would walk to my Nieces house to babysit, waving at all the neighbors as I sped by. On one morning I saw a pile of art work thrown to the curb and realized that Mr Wong had died and there was a clean up crew emptying out the house. I was saddened as I new that he would never stand on his porch to wave and smile as I walked by. The paintings were lovely, greens and golds shimmered by the rays of the rising sun. At that moment I decided to take one before the garbage truck could pick them up and haul this gentleman’s life to the dump. I picked a small one, a painting of his home, tucked it in my bag, and new he would now never be forgotten. I would love to win the tickets to give them to a couple I know who struggle to make ends meet and love art. Perhaps, they will have a memorable experience that will last them the rest of there life.

  • Kristy

    I once met a couple in Big Sur who dumpster dove to pay for their trips to visit Big Sur. They lived in LA and would resell everything they found on EBay. They found all kinds of stuff unused, unwrapped! I would love to go!

  • Marylou Kelly

    Art is food for the soul, would love to go

  • Maureen Walker

    Best dumpster find was 3 perfect picture frames, still in their packaging, behind a local art venue! I’ve used all three to frame my own art. (sidenote: I would love to attend Trashtique)!

  • Charlotte

    I would love to attend! I have wanted to go for a few years and been dazzled at Fresno’s creative genius! It’s amazibg to see what our castaways can become!

  • Michele. biets

    New to Fresno and have loved every event I’ve attended at FAM. Trashique looks like the best of the best and a cant miss event.


    It’s such a stellar event and I’ve always wants to go..I was first introduced to the idea of recycling furniture, clothes and knick knacks in Germany where they have a long tradition of leaving them by the side of the road for pick up by others..that was decades ago .how far creative people, like those behind this show, have come is dazzling to see.

  • Heather

    That is so cool!!

  • Annette Pascual

    I’m always amazed at the great finds people have discovered in dumpsters and impressed with their creative ability to repurpose the items. Always wanted to go to this amazing event. The artists do a phenomenal job and it’s not just the outfits that are impressive. The hair and makeup are also exploding with creativity!

  • During the last street pick up in my neighborhood, I pulled at least 15 blankets, kids clothes and dishes from their “trash” that I was able to donate to Wings Advocates for the homeless, after thorough washing, of course. I find it amazing what people throw out. I love the idea of combing “trash” with art.

  • Karan Johnson

    Always wanted to see “Trashique’ !

  • Tina Vasquez

    I would absolutely LOVE to take my 7 year old son to this. I believe it would be a great lesson on what is beautiful in this world! An opportunity for me to expose him to art in a whole different light and for him to truly see their are no boundaries to creativity!

  • Very creative way to showcase ingenuity and talent,


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