Intersection of McKee Road & El Rancho Verde Drive, SAN JOSÉ, CA
sponsored by Phantom Galleries

This is my second commission through the ArtBox project (here’s my first ArtBox commission), recently finished in front of the Casa Verde apartment complex off of McKee Road in San José. They requested art that would be vibrant and fun: “”Chihuly Art so something maybe like vibrant jellyfish or something abstract, stained glass look or vibrant nature scene”. There were a few brightly-colored objects nearby including the red curb and bright yellow streetlight poles so this was a good choice for the spot. There were also two boxes to paint: the standard utility box and a “skinny” box nearby.

The existing utility boxes were painted a kelly green. I think they’re been green for a little while. There was a slapped sticker on the top end of the skinny box that I thought was a label I’d need to leave there, but on closer inspection I saw it was a “slap” (a blank USPS label) that once had a handwritten tag that had been bleached to almost nothing. Did I mention these got a lot of sun in the afternoons? I painted them mostly in the mornings.

When looking through reference photos of underwater scenes, I noticed a blue-to-green gradient that would harmonize with that existing green at the base. I also noticed a few shots of jellyfish in the wild that matched something I noticed in the exhibits at the Monterey Bay Aquarium as well: the jellyfish faced down so their tentacles drifted up to the water’s surface. Last, but not least was to figure out what to paint on the skinny box. While searching for jellyfish photos I came across color-coded beach warnings flags where purple is used to warn of marine creature hazards. Jellyfish are beautiful but those tentacles sting, so you definitely wouldn’t want to encounter them while swimming in the ocean.