Austin Does Not Need to Fret about Keeping It Weird

keepaustinweird

Photo courtesy of Bing.com

This is the mantra of Austin. Surrounded by, well, Texas, Austin folks works hard to encourage others to stay in Dallas, and to bring the wacky to their city. I’m here to tell you that they have nothing to fear. They’re doing just fine on the weirdness spectrum.

Cathedral of Junk

Where else would you find a 60-ton structure made entirely of other people’s crap? In the back yard. It started in 1989, and ever since, folks have been bringing their “treasures” here instead of to the trash. How neighborly?

Cathedral of Junk

History of the Cathedral of Junk

Sure, it’s junk, but it’s also beautiful. There’s order to the chaos through color coordination and groupings. There’s whimsy with characters placed…right…there. It’s a peek into others’ lives and the ridiculous and “essential” things we buy. In some ways, it’s a testament to free economy.

Take a look at the collections. Click the pic to advance the slideshow.

The Cathedral of Junk comes pretty close to being a cathedral. Bottles create the stained glass; it’s a structure that you can walk through and climb “stairs” (made of tires) to get closer to the heavens. It has a roof-ish. It’s a feat not only of artistry but of architecture. Click the pic to advance the slideshow.

Graffiti, Anyone?

Whatever your feelings are about public art, spray paint, and the combination of the two,  you’ve got to give props to the color and talent present at the Graffiti Park in Austin. The structure is the foundation of what was supposed to be condos–a project failed after soil tests conducted forever and a day ago.

Now, artists and sightseers risk steep inclines and exposed rebar to showcase, express, and experience.

Graffiti Park Austin

Building structure at Austin Graffiti Park

The murals include impressive use of paint and shading, traditional tagging that is stunning in its own right, and characters and caricatures vibrant with color and personality. Click the pic to advance the slideshow.

I think public art is essential–whether commissioned by the city or not. Making it indigenous to the location is what makes it authentic–much better than a city’s random placement of decorated cows, or horses, or turtles, as the case (and trend) may be.

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What do you think of public art?

5 Responses

Love all of this! So awesome and thanks for sharing!!!

12.17.12

Thank you I think. Most of my nieces, nephews, their children and grand children live in and around Austin. They send their warmest regards.

12.17.12

Fascinating! As for public art…I enjoy surprises in unexpected places. I even smile at the turtles, cows, and horses in Atlanta, Chicago, and Dallas.

12.17.12

Did you partake in the public artistry? I think you need “Americana the beautiful” in spray paint 🙂

Jef – excellent point. I’ve done ATB in crayon and quill. Next up: spray paint.

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