Extreme Makeover! Houston Garbage Trucks Get An Extreme Makeover!

Mobile artworks on wheels are hitting Houston streets as several recycling trucks have gotten an extreme makeover as part of a partnership celebrating the city’s artists and its commitment to going green.

Officials with Houston Art Alliance, the Solid Waste Management Department and the city of Houston unveiled the first six trucks in the Art Recycling Truck fleet Wednesday in Hermann Park.

“How about we turn something that most people don’t see as beautiful into a piece of art that drives through the streets every day?”

When first discussing the project with Harry Hayes, director of the city’s solid waste management department, Orange Show Center for the Visionary Artsboard member Michael Moore, said,”How about we turn something that most people don’t see as beautiful into a piece of art that drives through the streets every day?”

“That’s when we both decided to set this in motion,” Moore recalled.

The Orange Show produces the popular annual Art Car Parade, which in its 27th year is now the largest art car extravaganza in the country.

Hayes, also on hand for the unveiling, thinks the finished trucks covered in bold, graphic designs are beautiful. “Art is found everywhere around us to help inspire us,” he said.

The six new Art Recycling Trucks, which will travel their regular routes, are designed by local artists selected by a panel of professional Houston artists from an open call of applicants. The trucks, wrapped in printed vinyl panels, display the chosen artists’ visions of a city that repurposes.

Green Dream by Pablo Gimenez-Zapiola is overgrown with fig ivy — all photographs taken by the artist in the Museum District. It debuted at Mayor Annise Parker’s Earth Day Breakfast in April and then participated in the Art Car Parade, along with the second Art Recycling Truck, Patterns of Consumption, in which CORE Design Studio artists covered the truck in X-ray blueprints of recyclable bottles, cups and utensils.

Aaron Munoz imagines the recycling of the Astrodome with post-apocalyptic flare with Mad Tax Beyond the Astrodome, including fiery creatures scattered across the truck, while Kia Neill’s Recycled City depicts digitally manipulated photographs of steel I-beams mangled by Hurricane Ike.

Troy Stanley’s Forest for the Trees reflects a wood grain design taken from his photographs of scrap wood and resembles a wooden toy truck. I Have a Positive Impact by Arianne Roesch is a patchwork quilt of photos of materials left over from her soft sculpture works.

“This is a very unique collaboration,” Matthew Lennon, director of Civic Art + Design, said at the unveiling. “We’ll be rolling out two more trucks soon, with hopefully more to come.”


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