As I’ve written in the past, Detroit has some unusually painted buildings. Many that I see have colorful painted pictures of hairdos. Some feature crudely painted smoking ribs laying on a half-barrel with what appears to be amber-colored flames shooting out of it. On the sides of other buildings I’ve seen advertisements with well-spaced, evenly stacked, brightly colored letters announcing the store sells liquor at the State’s minimum cost. Others I’ve spotted while bicycling across this city are so badly drawn and painted that I wonder how they generate any business at all.
By far some of my favorite (and least expected) painted buildings are those that create a colorful, striking pattern splashed across the structure, literally from one end to the other. There is one such place, an abandoned gas station, on Harper Avenue near Cadieux Road. Not only is the former gas station building painted in various simple no-nonsense colors of red, white, blue and black; so is the cinder block privacy wall that lines the lot. The color scheme on both follows the outlines of the blocks, creating an unusual sharp-edged geometric layout. The overall paint job, with its bold colors, reminded me of a design that may be found on a Native American saddle blanket.
The painted non-functional gas pumps follow the interesting graphic outline found on the building. Despite no logical lines to follow, like the evenness of the off-center spacing of the building’s cinder blocks, the gas pumps are not badly painted. Some of the contrasting colors are a bit wavy, but overall, they are not too ragged and look balanced.
Looking at this painted treasure I had to admire the painter’s vision, planning and dedicated amount of time needed to create this eye-catching piece of urban wall art. It must have been quite a task just to figure out the various angles, the color proportion and the final design the painted cinder blocks would take once the job was completed.
If you like this painted structure, check out “A Building with an Artistic Touch“.