Discarded as frequently as Americans upgrade their TVs, flat screen boxes are easy to spot on garbage day due to their unwieldy shape and large size. An increasingly bigger, brighter, and better TV is a central part of the supersized American dream and while an empty TV box is an eyesore, it is also proof that you are keeping up with the Johnsons. 

Over the past four years, artist Stephen Zerbe has saved around 200 of these "eyesores" from the mean streets of New York.



Stormy Landscape, 43” x 31”

© Stephen Zerbe

Once he drags a box back to his studio, Zerbe cleans it and paints over the logos and text in order to highlight the colorful TV image on the box, often adding a sparse layer of paint that repeats the existing colors of the image.

Waterskier, 39.5” x 29.5”

© Stephen Zerbe

Though most flat screen boxes share a similar design formula, Zerbe brings out each box's unique quality and liberates the lively images from the banality of the box onto which they are printed. 

Marathon Runner, 34” x 31.5”

© Stephen Zerbe

According to Zerbe, he began collecting the boxes because, "they are beautiful but also disgusting and fun to collect."

Northern Lights, 56.5” x 42”

© Stephen Zerbe

Of their seemingly contradictory quality as both trash and treasure, Zerbe says, "Sometimes I have to take the garbage out that people stuff in them. But then when I see the image of the screen it's like I'm on vacation." 

Red Desert, 38” x 31”

© Stephen Zerbe

A forthcoming book will showcase many more works from his flat screen painting series.

Basketball Players, 41” x 34”

© Stephen Zerbe

Windmill Landscape, 42” x 27”

© Stephen Zerbe

Golden Clouds, 45.5” x 33”

© Stephen Zerbe

Violet Swamp, 35” x 29.5”

© Stephen Zerbe

Island Diver, 37.5” x 31”

© Stephen Zerbe

Crystal Falls, 45.5” x 32.5”

© Stephen Zerbe

Blue Biker, 34” x 32”

© Stephen Zerbe

Blue Lagoon, 38.5” x 26.5”

© Stephen Zerbe

Black And White Cosmos, 26" x 21.5"

© Stephen Zerbe

Yellow Sunset, 33” x 45.5”

© Stephen Zerbe

Touchdown, 42" x 33.5"

© Stephen Zerbe

Mountain Climber, 49.5" x 35"

© Stephen Zerbe

Island Sailor, 46.5" x 36.5"

© Stephen Zerbe

A Small Portion Of Zerbe's Collection

© Stephen Zerbe

Source Material

© Stephen Zerbe

If you can't wait for Zerbe's new book, you can check out more of his work here.