Around the nation, public works departments, downtown associations and neighborhoods have focused on sidewalk electrical utility boxes as public art sites. Hand painting appears in the neighborhoods and smaller cities, while printed vinyl wraps are preferred by more urban downtowns.
- Preparing the box itself by removing rust and other imperfections is essential.
- Hand painting has a slight edge on durability, but both can last up to five years depending on the quality of the paints, inks and UV protection. Wraps are rated for only 3 years.
- Design for pedestrian viewing seems to be prioritized over bold graphic images for automobiles. Sam Rodriguez’s box is very rare.
- Advantage on quality control as most artists are not experienced painting on metal.
- Artists working in almost any media can participate through the photographic image of the original artwork.
- Children, students and amateurs artworks can be incorporated by professional graphic designers.
- Removal of graffiti paint and markers is simple. Some stickers and ballpoint pens can be impossible without damaging the vinyl.
- Some public works department report that the vinyl can interfere with open the cabinet doors.
- Apparently, the wraps like warm weather.
- Requires a graphic designer to complete the final layout.
- Solves insurance issues as the sign company carries the proper insurance.
- Hint: Ask for a replacement wrap in the original bid.
- Surprise: No real reports of damage with a knife, etc.
- Good durability in all climates with UV protection
- In the project budget, very high percentage goes directly to the artists.
- The act of painting in the street becomes an event.
- Better recognition by the general public as art and not advertising.
- Can result in poor quality with painting by students or some artists without experience painting on metal.
- Need to resolve insurance for multiple artists painting in the streets.
- With expensive anti-graffiti coating, paint and markers can be removed
San Jose and Sacramento
An excellent comparison of hand painting and wraps.
San Jose Website: http://bit.ly/sanjoseboxes
Sacramento Website: http://capitolboxart.com/
Gallery of Images