Urban Camouflage Art to Cover Many Eyesores

It is interesting to see the surroundings change around the boxes as time passes—but the image on the box stays. ~ Joshua Callaghan

If as the old saying goes, beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder, then what can city souls do to change the ugly images of utility boxes? In a series of public art projects in Los Angeles, California, artist, Joshua Callaghan has addressed this urban challenge by “cloaking the subject.” This is done by placing digitally printed, specially treated, adhesive vinyl on urban eyesores, such as electrical boxes.

The Teflon over laminate of the vinyl prevents the occurrence of the king of all eyesores; namely, graffiti. Callaghan is a talented artist and filmmaker, who was hired to create artwork that would cover nine utility boxes scattered throughout the Los Angeles area. The boxes are covered with images that blend into the surrounding environment, suggesting camouflage in its purest form.

The tools of each artist reflect his or her approach to the environment and they are honed by years of experience and education. Joshua Callaghan is no exception and he utilizes his background in cultural anthropology and fine arts for his vinyl graphic creations that serve both as art and the suggestion of urban improvement. His images are even wistful in their own way, reflecting what could be hidden behind or in place of the object that is actually there.

The recipient of a Fulbright grant, Joshua Callaghan earned an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2005 and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, NC. His work has been exhibited in many galleries, but his own version of urban trompe l’oeil is by far the most astounding. By pasting pictures on utility boxes, he produces the illusion of a continuous view.

Every artist has his or her day and his or her message to impart to viewers. Callaghan’s is one of urban promise and unexpected beauty, and by the looks of things, one he will have no trouble keeping.

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  1. Frank Laser says:

    Well, I don’t consider them actual eyesores, they are there to serve a purpose. But camouflaging them with such delightful artwork, quite ingenious. I just hope the pedestrians don’t walk into them.