Jun 1, 2009

Green Street Bridge

I never do this. I usually keep my mouth shut about this kind of stuff. But seriously. Come on. We all drive by this thing all the time.

Today I was stuck in traffic, looking at the Green Street Bridge up close. It has a mural painted on it. A crude, mess of a mural. If you think I'm kidding, or being mean, read on.

Ah Worcester, the city of seven brown lumps. Nice job on your geographical research. Gee, I didn't know we were so close to Evil Disneyworld!

Look, the original Green Street bridge!
Originally built so that the colossal cauliflowers could tiptoe across and visit with their neighbors, the behemoth broccolis!

'Yeah I'm wearing a shirt made of fondant frosting. It's perfect for if I get hungry for decorative novelty desserts while painting this shitty mural!'
'And yeah, my head had to be re-painted five times. Try to ignore the giant miscolored patch-job around my head. I used to have a clown wig. So fucking what?'

'Yeah, I couldn't possibly have been painted 12 inches to the right! This way when they pry this cheap particle board panel off the wall, they can make it look like I'm talking! HELLO EVERY-BUBBY!!'

Silence! Genius at work!

'Yeah my pants are made out of dreams. No big whup.'
'Check it, I'm painting the page in the bible where the nude smurfs invented football!'

I have a dream that one day...black people and white people will come together...to grow hands out of white birch trees and lift laundry piles up from the ground in harmony...while burnt-umber-colored people will lean on it with yellow ladders and red pantaloons! 
Why? How would you paint 'Unity'?

Yeah, we have no trees at all in Worcester county. If we did, we could maybe look at one to see how to draw one. And that's why they hired this elf to do it!

'Hey big boy, you want a piece of this?'

Apparently Steven Tyler got in the microwave instead of the tanning bed.

[edit: Welcome to all the Boston.com readers. Sorry you have to see us this way. But just to boil it down, Worcester's pretty cool, esp Green Street, but you wouldn't know it when the city pulls crap like this.]


So the question anyone would ask is 'could you do better?'

Yes. And yes, I would. If they're interested. I'd do it for cost of materials, just to bury this embarrassing mess.

I live here and I put effort into the work I do. And yet, this bullshit publicly represents me... represents all of us. No way.

Comments welcome. I can take it.


Sprout said...

At this point, I'd rather they had just painted it a solid color and lettered Worcester or Welcome to Green Street on it. I'd say anything would be better, but we know how that could end up!

Cindy Woehrle said...

the vision behind this mural sounds as confused as the final product and reminds me of other projects that are only half done...how long has it been since the way finding pylons were started?
this article says it could be 10-15 years before its done.
and the ice skating rink behind city hall that no one is allowed to use?
how about investing in projects that can be completed in a reasonable time frame and completed well.

As far as this bridge is concerned- looks like the artist realized she got over her head took the money and proclaimed it done. And that was a-ok with the city.
seriously, where is the accountability here?

abnormalbrain said...

Bingo. It looks like a really rough sketch, at best.

Cindy, and Sprout, you both create beautiful things. This mess is an insult to your efforts.

Unknown said...

Thanks FIRE_BAD!! You took the time to say what we all think going by the monstrosity!! Gracias Senior!

Buggsy said...

nothing says "Paris of the 80's" quite like a crappy, unfinished mural of people painting a crappy, unfinished mural.
I wish they hired YOU to paint a mural, D - that would have been awesome to look at, and something i would be proud to point out to friends (rather than be something i have fun ridiculing with friends).

Kyle said...

couldn't agree with you more. I don't pass it too often, but it does look like a joke.

Kelly said...

Derek, if you did a mural, we all know it would be amazing! But even the standard graffiti is more attractive than this. If it had been done by a group of well-meaning 7th graders, it might be forgivable. I remember reading that there was some dispute between the artist and the city wherein she insisted they still owed her money. I kind of hope it's true.

Anonymous said...

You are all very much on point! Tell us what we can do to fix this? Who do we have to call, write to, visit??? Anything! Is someone offering to fix this for cost? Can we take up a collection? I get a gag reflex every time I drive by that disaster!

abnormalbrain said...

Honestly, I'd do it. Click around here and you can see what I do. I also did all the Halloween Outlet billboards and signs, and anyone remember the alien bus?

Regardless, there are lots of competent artists in this city. I may pick on the artist in my post, but the real blame, and disgrace falls on whoever selected the artist, okayed the piece, and paid for it.

And from what I heard this morning, the amount that the city paid is obscene. I won't post it here, until I know it for a fact.

Rollbiz said...

Seriously, this thing is so bad that I wish it would just get grafittied over at this point. I remember this being an issue back when it was being conceptualized, when the residents and merchants of the area thought that perhaps the mural should have something to do with the area on the other side of the bridge...Imagine that!

Caretaker at the GWLT Lodge said...

Very funny stuff!
Sigh..... The Bridge....

Once upon a time it had an advertisement for motor oil on it....

Who'd a thunk you could miss an ad for oil?

my eyes are burning said...

Ha ha ha, awesome. Very on point. That mural looks like turds and it is painful to look at.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the funniest things I've ever read.
It is a total embarrassment and if I'm not mistaken it was pretty expensive to produce.

I guess they could have had us do it but then there would have been a zombie or werewolf in there, eh?

I wish they had just restored the one that was there before-- this thing is a mess and Donna Vayo should be down there with a bucket of whitewash and start over again.

abnormalbrain said...


Actually, even with all the attention this has gotten today, not one person has disagreed with me yet.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it spelled Wustah?

Anonymous said...

Gigi says:

I want the oilzum guy back!

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how easy and "cool" it is to criticize these days. Someone put alot of time and effort into painting that mural and it looks somewhat impressionistic and is a whole lot better than graffiti or pealing Oil signs. Why don't you offer to "finish" it or embellish it or whatever you think needs doing? For free even and stop putting down someones effort to improve dumpy Worcester.

abnormalbrain said...

Hah. Please RTFA. I am offering. And the opinion of "Anonymous" is worthless, especially when pointing out how easy it is to anonymously criticize others online. That's me, my face and my contact info up there at the top of the page. I stand by every word.

And I did my research, the amount paid so far was $13,500, which wasn't enough. This article is somewhat old, but it's the most definitive thing I've come up with. Other, unconfirmed reports have it as high as $19K-20K.

...And who the fuck still puts quotes around "cool"? Yeah, I am "cool", you "SQUARE"!

Evan S said...

I completely agree Derek. There are so many amazing artists and Worcester and it's a shame none of them were asked to do it. I'd love to know who to get in touch with to try to improve this. You could start a petition and know everyone would sign it.

I also don't think you're trying to be "cool" criticizing. This isn't improving "Dumpy Worcester" anymore than graffiti or peeling signs.

Hammer said...

I personally think it would be okay if it were on the other side of the bridge, facing Green St. That's the only side I ever see, and I'm usually shit housed when I see it....might improve it a little.

4rilla said...

Great post and you are so right.

This thing has looked like a trainwreck since day one. It looks no better today "complete" than it did when it was half finished.

I'm glad that in my Worcesterite post back in 12/07 I said that they should have tabbed a graffiti artist to do something bold and I stand by that.

Check out pictures from "The Wall at Central Square" which is a legal graffiti/street art wall in Cambridge. That wall looks 100x better than this mural at no cost at all!!


Peter Ring said...

Hey Derek, I am ready to roll up my sleeves for this one! I have lots of paints brush that need to get some field training. Oh, and for "Anonymous", your opinon dosn't count if you can't put your name to it.
So deal with it!!!

Action Geek said...

Total agreement. I see this atrocity of a "mural" three hundred times a day driving around and I'd love to be a part of changing it or doing something much much much better elsewhere...

Sprout said...

Heard via a client who works for the city that there were way too many opinions involved and too many people to please and it got out of control...

Isn't that the same way we ended up having a zillion exits and swerving around a field on 290?

Sprout said...

PS Thanks D for your kind words (all over) (blushing).

Anonymous said...

Lets take the back the bridge for Worcester artists guerrilla style. With all the local artists we know we can join forces and bust it out b4 the end of the summer. Maybe we can prove to the city that art for Worcester by Worcesterites is what it takes to get things done the right way.
Of course not getting arrested and actually getting the cities approval is gonna be tough. That's why I propose we all dress like ninjas. No one pay attention to the awkward 6'4 ninja.

Anonymous said...

It is easy to criticize when you don't sign your name isn't it?

Derek didn't hind behind some internet ID and I respect that. We all know this thing is an atrocity and I've just been holding judgement until it was finished. It hasn't changed in a while, and I haven't seen anyone working on it so I guess we stick a fork in it.

I've painted a few murals in the past too-- and it's not easy by any means, but the key is the planning stages and this clearly was not planned out.

You're never going to have a piece of public art that pleases everyone, but the least we as taxpayers could ask for-- and WE paid for this-- is professional work.

I'd welcome Donna's comments-- I can almost guarantee the whole project was a nightmare trying to work with the city and she probably walked away from it.

Last year, after appearing on the Konnie Lukes show her office called me to ask about buying some art for her office-- I passed because it's not worth the haggle and hassle I would have went through.

abnormalbrain said...

Yeah, I'm of the opinion now that a dignified cement bridge is our most reasonable option.

It's in the hands of clowns, so yeah, should be fun to watch.

Ms. Coppens said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for making me laugh and cringe at the same time. That mural is an abomination which makes quite clear that there is a difference between painting something and creating art. I started choking when I read in the T&G a while back how much that mural cost...

FreeArtWorcester said...

Way to go Derek for bringing this up + all the people who are in agreement about the state of this mural and it's quality. Sad it is.

We'd come out of the Art Supply Closet to help out to make this mural better. Derek you design it, we'll all beg for paint + show up with our brushes, rollers + spray cans and do this thing!

...+ if we have to, Cathartist is right Ninja Style might be best. Some will lock arms to create a barricade and some will paint it! hehe

punky said...

Every time I drive by this, all I can think is:
"Hey big boy, you want a piece of this?"


Unknown said...

Ouch. Your post and the following link are both within the top ten that google pulls up when searching for the artist.

Be careful, D.


zincink said...

holy shit that was the funniest shit I have ever seen...its so good I had to plaster it on my Twittaaaa

i blame those blind elves..

Paulie's Point of View said...

this is the kind of stuff that makes one wince when out leaders proclaim WooTown to be the 2nd biggest city in New England....and others proclaim it to be at the top of the heap when it comes to being 2nd rate!

Great post....more need to be speaking up about this...it's like the Summer Nationals..what 1st class city would allow this mess

PAIDesign said...

had a good chuckle at that one.
You think this was a mural done by the local prison mates?
Wow, that was terrible

kelsterheart said...

Instead of putting down anybody's creativity it is important that we should embrace the initiation and effort. How could u make this better? What can you do about it? Nobody wants an artist to represent the city if you don't have a good heart. All you people are not embracing what art is. whether the person is good or bad, art is about building self-esteem and in other ways it can make a person feel good about themselves and give them a purpose in life. Everything you guys are saying is making yourself look bad. I am think i speak for everyone that we don't want arrogant people like you to represent the city and what it stands for because you are not ethical people and we need more ethical people in the community to make it better. You want to draw unity first you will have to want it and be unity. None of you are showing unity. Think about who you are as a person and what you are saying. Putting someone down because they are trying to make a difference in the community is not ethical for yourself or us as a whole. Art is not necessarily about the way it looks but rather the painter behind it. You all set examples of people who we don't want to represent us. Maybe instead of criticism you could all work as a team to get the job done in a way that we all agree. That is what a community is all about. Not about putting each other down because we think we are better than others.

abnormalbrain said...