Probably not right at first– because they are indeed refrigerator-looking boxes. But through the talents of local artists, this project dubbed “Art The Box” will bring beauty to the traffic boxes in the Augusta area. You will never want to take your eyes off those boxes ever again.
Let me tell you this fantastic “Art the Box” project that the city of Augusta and the Greater Augusta Arts Council has brought to the CSRA. I have heard about the project in fall of 2014 during the Artist Summit, and the project officially launched in early spring of 2015, and I proudly submitted an application. My design, titled “Swimming Colors,” focuses on water, color, and movement. I want to turn a plain old traffic box into a living aquarium. The fishes in the water brings out festivities and color with great contrast to the blue refreshing water. The fishes move through the current and create ripples. I want to blend the colors together within the moving current. I was inspired by our gorgeous Savannah River right down at the River Walk. I really wish to inspire the patrons that water should be clean and livid just like in the painting.
Through the influence and feedback from my co-workers and friends, I’m re-titling my design to “Augusta Aquarium – the swimming colors.” My digital expert colleagues mentioned that they will create a Google Place for the spot and hopefully draws more tourism. My friend Kaity also pointed out, “It’s beautiful fishes that don’t need to be fed, low maintenance. Open 24-7 all year around!”
Grabbing my paint brushes and paint outside in the busy traffic was a little nerve-wracking for me at first. I have never worked under public eye before. In addition to the attention, the weather and heat have been a challenge. Unlike studio setting, my paint dries up really unevenly and unusually quickly. It also causes the layers to be uneven, which makes the painting process even more difficult. This will definitely be a learning curve for me.
But the location of my traffic box is undeniably good. Not only am I right across from my office at the Augusta Chronicle where I can immediately start painting after work, I am also under a shade provided by a neighborly tree. There are parking spaces right at the curb so I don’t have to haul my equipment around a lot. The water fountain in the median provides endless water for rinsing out my paint brush obviously, and that trashcan that is only a step away makes it easier for me to clean up my mess. The best of all is the friendly neighbors at the Richmond Summit and the Augusta Grooming Lounge. Residents of the summit frequently stroll by with their dogs, and they often give me thumbs up and words of encouragement. They are also enthusiastic about my work and supportive with their appreciation. The barbers at the Augusta Grooming provide me with some drinking water and tools to help me to open some stubborn metal paint bottles. They welcome me to use their restroom so I can easily clean myself up after a long day of sweating and painting. Little signs of kindness from the community add up, and it brought me a whole new level of painting experience.
On the downside, I find it really difficult trying to paint while being distracted by passerby’s frequent comments and questions, not to mention those who keep asking me for my phone number and my relationship status for some odd reasons. I don’t put my ear buds in to listen to music and ignore my surroundings. But sometimes I really wish I have a way of staying focused.
The best part about this project tho–is always the people. I have never been happier to see friends and co-workers visiting me and checking up on my art. It made me feel really special and that really becomes a fuel to help me stay energized. I know perfectly well I am not a celebrity, but knowing that there are people who are willing to spend a few minutes of their life to visit me does kind of make me feel like a super star. I must not fail their expectation and push my abilities to maximum.
I am a little shy with my artwork, considering that my professional artistic experience only started recently. But at the same time, I’m trying my best to stay active. My involvement with the arts has been intimate recently. Back in the day, art to me was only confined in a class room setting. Only recently that I started to get a sneak peak of all the professional opportunities with arts since I graduated. It all begun in January of 2014 when I started taking professional photos for Spotted, a community photography website, of the Augusta Chronicle. Through Spotted, I learned a lot about other valuable organizations, such as the Greater Augusta Arts Council, Gertrude Hebert Institute of the Art, and many others in the Augusta, Ga area. Learning is for a lifetime- is my motto, and I am not afraid to try out new things. 2014 is the spark of my artistic career, started as something plainly voluntary; and the same spark has then turned into a ever-lasting passion of fire in 2015. Ever since then, I have never been more involved with my art talents.
I thank the Greater Augusta Arts Council, the city of Augusta, and downtown development authority for this opportunity. Furthermore, I thank all those who came and supported me and keep me going. I look up to fellow artists who are also working diligently on other traffic boxes. I look forward to June 5, 2015 at 600 Broad Street for the artist reception, recognizing the artists and all those who help start up the project will make a significant mark in the history of Augusta.
More information about this project can be found here!