Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Painting Utility Box is gone.....

So the other night, driving down Western Ave in Allston, the construction that's going on at Brighton Mills caught my eye. I know that there's been construction on going for a while but just recently I found out that Google has invested in some low income housing project and that they are rebuilding the Charlesview Apartment complex over in the Western Ave lot. Great for Allston, great for Google (tax write off I'm presuming) and great for people who need low income housing. However.......

they took out my utility box.

Back in 2009, I submitted a design to the Boston Redevelopment Authority to become one of the chosen artists to paint the electrical utility boxes around the city. You know the ones, they're grey and always humming.... Anyway, my "Stripe-ah" design was chosen and they were kind enough to give me a box that was close to where I lived.

The first step was to clean and prime it. That was disgusting. What possesses people to take their wads of chewed gum and stick it on this box is beyond me. What really got me what that the last person to repaint it gray, well, he just painted right over the gum too. Nice..... It took about 3 days from start to finish and I was very happy with the outcome of the painting especially considering that I hadn't painted with acrylics in forever and had never done the "mural thing" before.

What also was really nice is the amount of people who stopped to look and talk to me or the people who were in their cars yelling out things like, "Nice work!" and "I really like yours!" (there are 3 other U.boxes on Western Ave.) and the bus driver of the 68 route who saw the progress through the day... he waved to me each time he drove by.

Well, it's gone now. This construction project is right to the curb so I don't know if they plan to have some kind of store front or what. And some are saying that they may replace it (I'm assuming that the electrical components are in the ground) after construction? I don't know. But when I did drive by a second time to confirm that "Yes, it's GONE" I have to tell you I started tearing up... I mean, this was something that I created and tried to make my neighborhood a prettier place. Really I shouldn't take this personally, just the luck that I got the that just happened to be on the property of the construction site.... but seriously, this made me so upset.

So here are the pictures of it that I took when I completed it. So enjoy it. And next time you see a mural you really like, think about the artist that took the time and the creativity to make your neighborhood a lovelier place.

Incidentally, my friend Tracy had also painted a ubox in Roslindale Square. Hers got tagged with in a month beyond recognition. This doesn't make me feel better at all.


Anonymous said...

That's rough. I live right there and the construction company had my car illegaly towed without notice (we knocked on your door is not an excuse). Allston Headache! Sorry about the mural

the pedigree artist said...

Since I've written this I wanted to let you know that the BOX IS BACK! Yay!!!

Anonymous said...


I'm a director at a public library in VT that has one of these ugly boxes right by our entrance. We have an artist willing to paint it, but I'm wondering what is the best kind of paint to use. You mentioned acrylics. Did you seal it when complete? Did the colors fade? Any advice would be very much appreciated.

I'm glad they returned your box!