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Meet the Painter Turning His City’s Drab Utility Boxes Into Internet-Inspired Works of Art

by Rafi Schwartz

August 4, 2015

Walk the streets of Auckland, New Zealand, and there’s a good chance you’ll come across some of Paul Walsh’s work. A self-taught artist, Walsh has spent the last several years transforming his city’s unsightly internet service provider utility boxes into colorful portraits and landscapes, each of which adds a dash of much-needed whimsy and creativity to the otherwise drab fixtures. But rather than pull a Banksy and create his art clandestinely, Walsh’s work is done with the permission and full support of Chorus, the local telecommunications ISP who own his medium of choice. 

If some of his animal portraits look familiar, there’s a good reason why. As Walsh told GOOD: “Because these boxes are the physical conduits of the Internet, I decided to use Internet memes as the inspiration for the artworks.”

There’s bird with arms:

Piggy Stardust

“It’s so shiny” Cat

and, of course, the legendary Astronaut Sloth

Per Bored Panda, Walsh is paid a small commission for each of his utility box paintings, in order to cover his time and expenses. And he’s not done yet. Explains Walsh in his email to GOOD: “The reception from the public (and online) has been great, and I am planning to paint dozens more of them over the next few years.”

Here’s more of Paul Walsh’s gorgeous, internet-inspired, utility box art: 

[all images used with permission, courtesy of Paul Walsh]

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Meet the Painter Turning His City’s Drab Utility Boxes Into Internet-Inspired Works of Art