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Interview with a Utility Box Painter

I came upon an artist on June 5 who was painting a utility box in Ocean Beach. Alicia Garcia, a 33-year-old student of art history, said it usually takes three to four days to complete a painting. She had until the end of June to decorate her box on Bacon Street.

Garcia said she "studied at San Francisco State University and is very fond of abstract art." She appeared to be painting the leaves of a bird of paradise.

Utility-box art is not sponsored by the City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture, according to a 2009 document at sandiego.gov; rather, business improvement districts tend to conduct the programs. Utility-box paintings have led to community beautification projects that now include murals, sidewalk poetry, mosaics, birdhouses, and decorative benches.

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I came upon an artist on June 5 who was painting a utility box in Ocean Beach. Alicia Garcia, a 33-year-old student of art history, said it usually takes three to four days to complete a painting. She had until the end of June to decorate her box on Bacon Street.

Garcia said she "studied at San Francisco State University and is very fond of abstract art." She appeared to be painting the leaves of a bird of paradise.

Utility-box art is not sponsored by the City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture, according to a 2009 document at sandiego.gov; rather, business improvement districts tend to conduct the programs. Utility-box paintings have led to community beautification projects that now include murals, sidewalk poetry, mosaics, birdhouses, and decorative benches.

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2

San Diego is the only town I've ever lived in that had utility boxes helter-skelter all over its pedestrian walkways. How come this is? Does it have something to do with a low water table? How could that be in neighborhoods far from the ocean?

These metal cubes of all sizes are hazards and they are eyesores -- unless they are imaginatively painted by artists like Ms. Gomez. Here's a WPA-style project for recession-battered artists! It beats official "public art" selections of the Commission for Arts and Culture and truly beautifies that which was ugly before.

June 8, 2011

Thank you Gail for featuring my progress on the Utility Box Painting.

My correct name is Alicia Garcia, not Gomez.

It has been fun working on this project and bringing more color to the streets of San Diego. The painting is an abstract piece. I tend to choose the colors I want to use and then just let it flow. I get my inspiration from leaves, trees, flowers and waves. After that, it's up to the viewer to interpret what it is to them.

Thank you again! Alicia V Garcia [email protected] http://1010tonite.blogspot.com/

June 13, 2011

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