My Other Obsession

Last week, I shared my flash mob obsessionΒ with you.

But I have another obsession, and this one may be even weirder: I’m a sucker for whimsical public art, wherever I find it.

I don’t know what it is, exactly, that I love so much about this style. (Though I suspect Gillian Farabee of Cirque du Soleil Media was on to something when she told us at Story Chicago that convincing art requires a bit of absurdity, because life is absurd.)

I snapped these pictures mostly in my own neighborhood, while walking the dog or on my morning run. I’m sure I could find better examples if I traveled far and wide, but I’m afraid that would be missing the point: it’s the everyday stuff I’m after, and besides, I don’t need to travel far when such accessible examples are in my own backyard.

whimsy 1

Doorway to nowhere

whimsy 2


whimsy 3

parking meter–in a suburban driveway

whimsy 4

this backyard has three dozen birdhouses, or more

whimsy 5

telephone booth in a suburban driveway

One day, I’d love to incorporate some kind of whimsical art into my own outdoor space. I don’t know what it will look like. But it will be whimsical, and a touch absurd, and I hope it’ll make you smile when you go by.

All pictures are from my instagram.

Do you have an example of whimsical public art? Please share it in comments!


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  1. Ana says:

    Yes, I want to come visit where you live–what great quirky art your city has!!! I looooove the red phone booth–where does one get something like that on this side of the pond? I also adore the door to nowhere, and am trying to think how I could incorporate that at my house…how fun for kids to have something Narnia-esque like that!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for bringing this my attention…I’m sad to say I’ve never noticed this kind of thing. Now my eyes will be peeled πŸ™‚

  3. Oooh, those things are all so cool! I’m pretty sure my husband would have a heart attack if I suggested we put something like that in our yard. Then again, it might be a fun game to see how long it would take him to notice something like that…

  4. Alyssa says:

    Have you seen the “flower bed” where a metal frame headboard and footboard are stuck in the ground and the bed is full of flowers? I once had a neighbor who had about 100 fire place poker made into a fence around her garden. Love whimsy!

  5. Shelly says:

    A music teacher nearby used to have a gigantic model of a harp on her roof. It was there for years. Another neighbor painted his garage door like the American flag with his friend’s date of birth and date he died in the Persian Gulf.

  6. Kimberly says:

    I am so jealous that you have such awesomeness hanging out in your own neighborhood! The closest my neighbors get to whimsy is an overabundance of pumpkins around Halloween. Boo.

  7. melyssa says:

    We have one of those head planters – you know the baroque looking bust type? You’re supposed to plant something as hair in its head, but instead we just dress him up for whatever holiday is nearest. He was a pirate for October, complete with eye patch and hat. Then he wore a big goofy turkey snow hat for November. Now he has a santa hat and reindeer antlers.

  8. Also, did you see there’s a free kindle download today on amazon, Jane Austen and Food? Just thought you might be interested–I find food in books really interesting, both what the food symbolizes, and also how it differs from how we eat today.

  9. Okay, confession – all you are likely to see in my “hood” are some plastic dear (possibly target practice – possible yard art), some faded kids toys that haven’t been used in years, though we do have a free “library” box just around the corner from us, though {GASP} I’ve never stopped to look in it.

    Second confession (it’s good for the soul, right?) – I WANT a phone booth and a parking meter for my driveway. Where does one go about getting something like that???

  10. Angie says:

    I didn’t recognize the other fabulous stuff, but I know exactly where that phone box is! I live at the other end of that street (near Hubbards). You should drop by when you’re out walking your dog to warm up πŸ™‚

    • Anne says:

      Really? I knew you were close, but I didn’t know you were that close! The three of us (Dianna, of course) have got to get together one of these days!

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