A lifelong goal of many artists is to blanket the world with their creations. While many of us have gotten a leg up on this endeavor by painting rocks, designing art for our cars or even creating the occasional mural on the side of building (with owner permission, of course), most of us don’t have the cash to blanket larger things like Times Square billboards.
But who needs Times Square billboards when we got the Tucson Weekly Art Box Project.
Now in its second go-around, the Tucson Weekly Art Box Project consists of transforming the plain red, metal newspaper boxes into veritable works of art. Artists are allowed to use any medium they wish to create any design they wish, although we were duly warned that boxes that end up with nudity or profanity will get stuck in a “less desirable” location.
“Is that a Tucson Weekly newspaper box in those weeds behind the saguaro?”
The Weekly borrowed the idea from the Sacramento Register & Review, who called their undertaking the art newsrack project and ended up with boxes festooned blue birds, blue skies and eyeballs – just to name a few.
The SR&R project was deemed successful because none of the boxes were plagued by graffiti, vandalism or theft. Twas not the case for the first run of the Tucson version of the project, with several of the boxes defaced and at least one of them ripped off from its location in front of Trader Joe’s.
Project officials promised security chains are definitely part of the project this time around.
They also noted was that it was important to get the art box back in a timely fashion, not only so they can launch the project in an equally timely fashion, but because artists have this strange habit of becoming extremely attached to their creations.
They are our children, after all.
One official noted at least one box did not come back last time when the artist fell so in love with it and refused to give it up. It only makes sense we would become attached to these sweet red newspaper boxes, especially based on the process we must endure for creating the box in the first place.
The first part of the process involves obtaining the box, of course, then placing it gently where we can easily see it several times a day. Then we sit and stare at it. The staring sometimes comes with absolutely no ideas or it may come with a steady stream of fascinating visions of what we’re going to do to the box.
Then we sit and stare at it some more.
You see, it’s not always up to the artist to decide what to create. Sometimes it’s up to the art to tell us what it wants to be. My art box wanted to be funky skeletal thing named Gretel.
Her wish was my command.
Gretel and I just hope she gets picked up soon, as we are starting to become attached to each other. Even the dogs are treating her as a friend rather than the intimidating foe that first invaded the backyard. Her mission, however, is much greater than sitting around in our yard. She’s meant to serve the people of Tucson, who will hopefully find her amusing enough to leave her free of graffiti but not amusing enough to attempt to take her home to their own yards.