Kim Alsbrooks

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Kim Alsbrooks is a Philadelphia-based artist. She was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1961, and lived briefly in Philadelphia during the 1990s.[1] After living in Arizona for 10 years,[2] and in Charleston, South Carolina, she returned to Philadelphia in 2007.[1] She has had a number of solo exhibitions, and has recently received considerable attention for her White Trash Family series which includes over 600 miniatures, painted on discarded trash.[3] She is one of the winners of the West Prize.[4]



External video
“There is a danger in overthinking and over verbalizing”, Kim Alsbrooks, Statement: Making Art Philadelphia by Jesse Brass

Kim is currently self-employed, primarily contracted by the Mural Arts Program[6][7] in Philadelphia, as an artist.[2] In Charleston, she worked in historic restoration; she is currently the owner of Luxe Painting & Historic Restoration in Philadelphia.[1][8]

White Trash Series[edit]

Alsbrook's White Trash series challenges perceptions of the history of the civil war and associated class distinctions by creating miniature portraits of 18th century historical figures in graphite and oils on a base of discarded pieces of trash.[9][10][11] Her work was sparked in part by an interest in the tradition of miniature paintings on ivory,[12] and also by the comments of a women's history professor friend on historical biases in art.[3] She began developing the series in 2004 while living in Charleston, South Carolina.[13]

Alsbrooks creates miniature portraits by creating an oval shape that is gessoed onto the trash. Then she draws the image on the gesso in graphite and paints it in oils before varnishing it. She says of the process of finding materials: "The trash is found flat, on the street. One cannot flatten the trash. It just doesn't work. It must be found so that there are no wrinkles in the middle and the graphic should be well centered. Then the portraits are found that are complimentary to the particular trash."[14] One of her favorite times to pick up trash is after the yearly Philadelphia Mummers Parade.[15]


  • 2015 The Bigger Picture with Mary Dewitt, Jim Doherty, and Elise Dodeles, Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, Princeton[16]
  • 2014 Last Memories: The End of My White Trash Paintings, Snyderman-Works Gallery, Philadelphia, PA[2][17]
  • 2013 Portraying Kinship: Work by Kim Alsbrooks and Helen Mirkil, Painted Bride At Center, Philadelphia, PA[18][19]
  • 2012 Recovered Delights: The Inventive World of Found Object Sculpture, group exhibition, Snyderman-Works Gallery, Philadelphia, PA[15][20]
  • 2010 White Trash, Bambi Gallery, Philadelphia, PA[21]
  • 2010 About Face, with Tilo Uischer (Germany) and Elisabeth Belliveau (Canada) at Two Window Project, Berlin, Germany[22]
  • 2008 Kim Alsbrooks, with Patrick Farell, Third Boat Gallery, Philadelphia, PA[2]
  • 2005 Splendour and Elegance, Lime Blue, Charleston, SC[2][23]

Fairmount Park Map[edit]

In 2014 Kim published a small artisan map of Philadelphia's Fairmount Park, reflecting her own years of exploring the park on foot and by bicycle.[1][24]


  • West Prize, 2012[4]

External links[edit]

  • Jobson, Christopher. "Historical Fine Oil Portraits on Crumpled Trash by Kim Alsbrooks". Colossal: Art, Design and Visual Culture. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  • Fairmount Park Map by Kim Alsbrooks


  1. ^ a b c d Maule, Bradley (March 18, 2014). "Fairmount Park: A New Map From An Old Style". Hidden City Philadelphia. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Kim Alsbrooks". INLIQUID art+DESIGN. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b Barnes, Sara (February 27, 2014). "Kim Alsbrooks' Exquisite Portraits Painted on 600 Flattened Beer Cans". Beautiful Decay. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b Crimmins, Peter (November 14, 2012). "City Hall hosts rare display of West Collection contemporary art". WHYY News. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "creative face ART Berlin: 'About Faces' with Tilo Uischner, Kim Alsbrooks and Elisabeth Belliveau at Two Window Project". Creative Face Magazine. 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  6. ^ "We The Youth, Restoration". City Of Philadelphia MuralArtsProgram. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  7. ^ "Join The Mural Arts Program In Celebrating The Restoration Of Keith Haring’s Mural We The Youth With Music, Food Trucks And More Saturday, November 2". UWISHUNU'S Philly 101. October 31, 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  8. ^ "LUXE Painting and Historic Restoration". Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  9. ^ Kelly, Tara (October 30, 2011). "'White Trash' Series Portrays Founding Fathers On Beer Cans By Artist Kim Albrooks". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  10. ^ Jobson, Christopher. "Historical Fine Oil Portraits on Crumpled Trash by Kim Alsbrooks". Colossal: Art, Design and Visual Culture. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  11. ^ "EN DE My White Trash Family by Kim Alsbrooks". Ignani. Retrieved Oct 10, 2014.
  12. ^ ""My White Trash Family" Paintings on Discarded Beer Cans by Artist Kim Alsbrooks". Booooooom. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  13. ^ Alsbrook, Kim. "Kim Alsbrook's My White Trash Family". Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  14. ^ Alsbrook, Kim. "my white trash family". Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  15. ^ a b Otterbein, Holly (2012-07-02). "First Friday Focus: Snyderman-Works Gallery". Philadelphia City Paper. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Princeton exhibit shows everyone has a larger-than-life story to tell". WHYY Newsworks. February 26, 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  17. ^ Rodabaugh, Mary Anna (February 7, 2014). "Snyderman-Works Galleries First Friday". Main Course. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  18. ^ Schwartz, Chip (February 14, 2013). "Kim Alsbrooks and Helen Mirkil at Painted Bride". Knight Arts. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  19. ^ Mangravite, Andrew (March 5, 2013). "Alsbrooks and Mirkil: 'Kinship' at Painted Bride". Broad Street Review. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  20. ^ "Recovered Delights: The Inventive World of Found Object Sculpture". Snyderman-Works Galleries. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  21. ^ Sirizzotti, Catherine (June 17, 2010). "Trash Worth Recognition at Bambi". Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  22. ^ "White Trash Art by Kim Alsbrook". Art Nectar. Retrieved 6 December 2010.
  23. ^ "Lime Blue". Charleston City Paper. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  24. ^ Alsbrook, Kim. "Fairmount Park Map. Handmade. For biking and other things". Retrieved 10 March 2015.