BLOOm Bright Where you are

The City of San Carlos commissioned 18 local artists to paint utility boxes. The goals of the program were to enhance the beauty and vibrancy of the city, deter unsightly graffiti on utility boxes, and bring art to unexpected places.

I was thrilled to be one of the chosen artists! I wanted to bring a message of hope and light to the crowded corner where these boxes reside — on the busy intersection of Holly Street and Old County Road in San Carlos, California.

It was my first public works project and the opportunity was fantastic and fun!

I was one of the 18 lucky artists chosen and was assigned one of the largest boxes on one of the busiest intersections in the city. It was the first time I had painted with acrylic paints since college and at the time, I had never taken on a project this large. It was a little daunting at first, but once I got started it was fun to interact with the people walking and driving by while I painted.

Part of the assignment was cleaning, sanding and priming the box — preparing the surface to be painted — so I enlisted my family to help me with the prep work. Technically, I *think* I was only supposed to paint the larger box (shown left), but let’s just say the kids had a little too much fun with the electric sander and I found myself on the hook for painting both boxes shown here!

The Application Process

To be considered to be one of the 18 muralists, hopeful artists were asked to sign waivers and submit the following paperwork:

  • An Artist’s Statement (download mine here);
  • Relevant art examples
  • A resume — which I exported from my LinkedIn page;
  • A concept sketch (shown right) and description for the artwork.

My vision was to share my whimsy line art style with San Carlos. I imagined bright colors painted in acrylic for a pop of fun in any of the available locations. Most of my art has a positive, free-flowing quality to it, so my hope is that this feeling would be conveyed in my utility box mural.

Painting the Flowers

After painting the utility box with white primer, I sketched out my design on the top and sides.

I layered each flower with a base color. When painting the bloom shown below, I started with a yellow base, then added orange and red — finally finishing the tips of each petal in white.

The End Result

Many art and illustration projects evolve and change. This one was no different! My original vision was more detailed (too detailed!). I had imagined black outlined flowers and a deep blue background. But as I moved through the process, I fell in love with the clean, bright petals and their contrast against the white background. Others around me felt the same! Ultimately, I strayed slightly from my original sketch, but the result was a stronger solution.

I am proud of the outcome — especially the fact that I am inspiring my boys and their friends with my art and encouraging young artists to explore their talents. I hope my utility box entitled, “Bloom Bright Where You Are” helps the community celebrate the hope, growth and strength that exists within us all.