Two giant 500 ft walls that span a busy railroad underpass and 16 panels were the backdrop for this art intervention project in the center of Austin. With my first public outdoor project just blocks from where I live, I hoped to tell a story about Austin and bring to life a heavily traveled spot that had grown dingy and a little depressing. I always thought architect, Carl Trominski’s original blue sign installation felt like oars in the water and we were all swooshing thru a fluid dynamics experiment as we drove thru the underpass. I loved the sense of flow thru this space.
Funded by the Hotel Occupancy Tax, I used data to tell a story of visitors - 25 million come every year. The drippy stripes are visitor data (reasons + activities) and the upholstered signs are color sampled from the iconic murals visitors Instagram from Austin. “I love you so much”, “Hi, how are you?” and “You’re my butter half” are just a few of the murals that draw instagram posts all over Austin. Each sign Sheri Bingham of Iron Thread Design lovingly patterned, hand cut, sewed and installed. Solar panels light strips of LED lights hidden on the wall side of the panel to create a halo of blue light at night.
During the 3 weeks of painting and installation, Blue Way, W Tucker, Christian Bingham, Sheri Bingham and I were amazed and surprised at the hundreds and hundreds of people who beeped their horn, gave us a thumbs up, shouted thanks out their window or walked over to tell us how much it changed their whole experience of this space. Thankyou to Roads and Bridges, Art in Public Places and the City of Austin for making this possible. And massive appreciation to Carl Trominski for his original work, which was a huge inspiration and his generosity for letting us intervene for this one year project. Walls are UV resistant acrylic Nova Paint, upholstery is Perennials outdoor fabric. Installed 2018. Photos by Phillip Rogers, Leon Alesi and the artist.