ROCKLAND, Maine (NECN) – Most of us see a shelf of Tide laundry detergent as something we’d use to wash our clothes, but Brendan O’Connell sees inspiration.
“I like the way the letters are put there. I like the reds and the way the reds become very dark in the negative space,” the painter explains.
His easel is a shopping cart, helping him fit into a retail space that is familiar to every American: Walmart.
It is that familiarity that first drew O’Connell to Walmart.
O’Connell began his Walmart paintings nine years ago.
He started taking photos in Walmart of things we wanted to paint.
Back then, the company didn’t appreciate his vision.
“I got thrown out, invited to leave, at several places,” he laughs.
He managed to capture enough images to create a series which landed him shows and appraises of critics.
He has sold over 100 paintings.
Most are priced in the thousands.
Walmart had a change of heart and now opens its doors to O’Connell.
Whether it’s a row of chips he wants to capture or the checkout lines at the front of the store, O’Connell believes these every day moments are important.
“You might actually be very nostalgic that there was a place where people could go and touch stuff before they actually bought it,” he predicts.