Outstreched arm

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Dumpster art in Dunedin

In June 2004, my brother Daniel heard from a former design professor who was an art council member of some sort for the nearby city of Dunedin, FL. The city had an eyesore problem: the cozy downtown area, usually filled with on-foot tourists, featured three giant waste receptacles (i.e. dumpsters) right by a popular bike trail. They had to have them there for the myriad local restaurants to use, so they thought, hey, instead of fencing these ugly things off, let's decorate them with "art." The city posted a call for submissions and Daniel and I thought we'd give it a shot.

Two other artists were considered and we were all invited to present our ideas to the council. In all modesty, I think we did a good job of it. Daniel's designs were jovial, colorful, and interesting, and we did something I advise every designer to do when working on a piece that will be displayed in some large, public manner: we put together mock-ups of what the illustrations would look like on the actual dumpsters. It took five minutes to take some pictures and ten minutes of layer work in Photoshop, and it seemed to make all the difference - the council people kept praising the idea of showing the finished work. Apparently another artist had just brought in a bunch of photorealistic paintings without much consideration for how this would look on the side of a big, green, irregularly-shaped hunk of stinky metal.

We got the contract and were given keys to a giant city-owned garage downtown. They delivered the dumpsters and gave us a month to make them pretty. It was a fun month - we'd drive over before and after work, slap some paint on, and sweat to my iPod in a non-airconditioned tin box in June. We were done well before schedule and everyone seemed very pleased. You can see the process documented in photos in the set below. Good times.

Photoset at Flickr.

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