Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fernwood power pole art

I promised to take you on a tour of some of the painted poles in the Fernwood.  This funky area is a mix of lovely old houses, crumbling houses, three storey apartments and some interesting commercial areas.  It's home to students, families, retired people, and low income people--a really mixed area with some challenges, one being graffiti.  But it's also a hub of the arts and the political.  The painted power poles reflect all of this, don't you think?

Most of the poles are the old wooden ones, covered with staples, which makes painting them quite a challenge.  But I think they look very cool.  The state of the pole often dictates what kind of art can be developed.

A lot of people go for flowers or images from nature, done in many different styles.

In some cases the staples add to the effect, like in this one where they give texture to the leaves.

This one with the red sun stands in front of the Belfry Theatre, converted years ago from an old church, where a local production company puts on plays.

These ones are more on a pattern theme.  I didn't stop to read the words on the leaf pole but I bet they're fascinating.

The pole below shoes the difference between painting on a rough and a smooth surface.  It's easier and more refined on the smooth pole.  I really admire this one of  two blue herons done on a cement pole just down the street from my house.

Frogs, giraffes, trees, houses, underwater scenes, and even cartoon figures appear on the poles.

Some of them work better than others I think but I admire the spirit and energy of the people who are trying to take back their neighborhood from graffiti.  I think it's perfect for The Fernwood.  

Which pole is your favorite?


  1. Wonderful photos ! and what a great way to take back the neighborhood !

    I like the first row, middle pole with the red sunflower, yellow house with blue bird. I gravitate towards flat design.
    Makes me very happy to look at it.

    cheers, parsnip

  2. Hi Parsnip,
    Interesting, I almost didn't include that one because it looked so primitive. But you're right -- it is a happy image.

  3. so super cool! i love when the community places a layer of itself over infrasturcture. steven

  4. I can't say which one is my favorite, they are all so inspiring! Very much works of art!

  5. Love the heron...and the giraffes...and Betty Boop. But they all have a certain charm. These are a great way to preempt graffiti.


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