Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Joshua Callaghan's Utility Boxes

One of the reasons why urban art is a great inspiration for me is because a good artist will effectively use the urban environment to express him or herself.

Joshua Callaghan responded to an advert asking for the unsightly utility boxes around city streets to be painted. He was commissioned and created an urban camouflage coating using either photographs surrounding the utility boxes or an idealized image of what he thinks could have displaced them.

By using photographs of what is exactly behind these boxes, Joshua creates an illusion of an uninterrupted view, blending the boxes directly into the background. His work here is inspired by the photorealistic trompe-l'œil style, using perspective illusions to trick the unsuspecting passer-by.

Although a lot of urban art is created to criticize or to make political statements, I think this project is a great example how urban art can elicit a non-negative and almost comical response from the public. Looking at these photographs, I can see how easily these boxes blend into their environment, especially if it's located at a busy location. It would be interesting to see people's reactions to first recognizing that something is not quite what it seems, and then actually getting up close to identify what the beautiful photographs were covering up.

Joshua's work can be seen on the streets of Los Angeles or at his website.

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