By Kate Torgovnick
An orange. A cup of coffee. A cab ride from Canal Street to 23rd Street. A pack of gum. A slice of pizza. A bunch of kale. Five cans of cat food. These are the things I bought today.
Normally, it would never occur to me to document each and every purchase made in a 24 hour period. But I just read about Kate Bingaman-Burt, a professor of graphic design at Portland State University. She has not only kept note of every single purchase that she has made for the past SIX YEARS. She has also ILLUSTRATED THEM. She has even compiled the images into the book, Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today?
“I love to shop. I hate to shop. Emotions connected to purchasing runs rampant in my work. I am really aware of objects and prices and of what I spend and of what I save. I overanalyze everything I purchase and everything I DON’T purchase,” she says. “I started this project as a break from another project where I was drawing all of my credit card statements by hand. The credit card project was not fun, but that also was NOT the point. Making work about consumption and personal consumption especially is a big theme throughout my work: drawing the mundane items that we all purchase everyday just seemed like a natural next step.”
Anyone wishing to take inspiration from Kate and document their purchases will have an easier road to follow. She now offers this very cool journal in which to keep careful records, in words or images.