You see them as you drive across Houston: traffic control boxes that sit at intersections throughout the city. Sometimes they’re practically invisible, sometimes they’ve been blighted by urban graffiti.
But coming to a corner near you: stunning themed murals will be painted on these boxes, bringing urban art to the intersections of Westchase District.
The first box was painted last November by artist Anat Ronen for UP Art Studios. Her artistic rendering of Gulf Coast wildlife brought fun and whimsy to an otherwise boring intersection. The project was so-well received by the Westchase District board and community members that Projects Director Louis Jullien began looking for more locations, plus a cost-effective way to bring more painted boxes to Westchase District.
That’s when he found Larry Crawford, a long-time Alief resident and acclaimed muralist. Crawford has done work for Texas Children’s Hospital and various restaurants around Houston. Now he’s bringing his talents to Westchase District. In addition to five traffic control boxes, Crawford will paint a mural on the box culvert at the west end of the Library Loop Trail at Wilcrest, plus a billboard-sized mural on the concrete banks of the drainage canal where the Library Loop Trail turns south toward Richmond.
Culture and Color
When possible, Crawford designs his art to incorporate the surrounding culture. The traffic box in front of Paul Revere Middle School (10502 Briar Forest) is a patriotic theme painted in red, white and blue, featuring the American flag, fireworks, and a young Paul Revere dressed in the baseball uniform of his namesake middle school.
The box in front of the METRO Park & Ride (northwest corner of Harwin and Rogerdale) features an American flag, plus a Texas flag and the red, white and blue motif that is reminiscent of METRO’s logo, while the box in front of United Recovery Systems features a woodland theme with a buck in full antlers, a grazing doe, and an eagle in full flight. An admirer noted on Westchase District’s Facebook page that the deer looks quite realistic. “Hope no one takes a shot at it,” he posted.
Crawford spends approximately two and a half days on each mural, but says he’ll spend as much time as it takes to get it just right. His attention is in the details: the leaves and foliage in the jungle scene painted at Westpark and Rogerdale or the folds of the American flag on the METRO box that give it dimension and a 3D feel.
Crawford enjoys it when motorists honk and wave as he works. Perhaps some of them even recognize him. He’s a graduate of Alief Hastings High School adding colorful beauty to his long-time stomping grounds.