This Fake Shadow Art Was Created Just To Mess With People’s Minds
We’re scared of shadows. They’re so dark, and who knows what goes on in them anyways? All sorts of nefarious stuff happens in the shadows. And don’t even get us started on our own shadow. It keeps on following us everywhere, and it never leaves. It’s always there, right in front of us, going every where we go. And if we think it’s gone, we turn around, and there it is lurking behind us like some kind of deranged stalker we can never get a restraining order on.
And trust us, we tried to get a restraining order on our shadow. Do not try to do this, because they will not listen to you and treat you like you’re crazy. But we’re just tormented by this shadow that follows us everywhere and we can’t do anything about it. It’s just the worst! But this shadow art is actually the best….
Meet Damon Belanger
When you’re walking on the street, it’s normal to see shadows on the ground. It’s not normal to see the shadows of things that aren’t there.
Unless you’re in Redwood City, California. Then, you’ve probably seen the work of artist Damon Belanger.
Damon has decorated the streets of the city with his surreal art. The sidewalks are filled with bizarre shadows coming from everyday objects thanks to Damon’s fine artwork. They might confuse you at first, but they look cool!
The sidewalks along the streets are now filled with animals such as monkeys and cats.
They’re also filled with aliens and strange little creatures. When you drop your mail off in a postal box, that postal box is going to have a funky monster coming out from it.
Ordinary objects are no longer ordinary objects. They’ve been transformed into fun, magical objects that have a secret stemming from them. It’s a wonderful way to spruce up the town!
Out Of Nowhere
These shapes don’t just appear out of nowhere. There is a method to Damon’s madness.
First, he traces the outline of the figure in white chalk. We imagine it looks like the police outline of a space monster.
Then, Damon paints in the figure using grey paint, so it looks like the silhouette of, well, not of a man, but of a weird little creature. It’s still very frightening, thunderbolts and lightening! Mama Mia let him go!
The Art Of Surprise
Damon says the theme of his art is “transformation and surprise.” We’re certainly surprised by it!
“We don’t pay much attention to shadows until something interesting happens, like you notice a shadow cast by a tree that looks like an animal or something unusual. it’s kind of like looking for shapes in clouds,” said Damon.
Normally, we’d expect the shadow from a tree to look like a tree, but you never know when you’re in Redwood City.
Damon explains his inspiration further. It’s always interesting to learn where artists get their ideas:
“That’s the way I approached these pieces: given what is there casting the shadow, what else could that thing be or project, given its size and shape? what if it transformed and came alive?” says Damon.
We would be so freaked out if the shadows suddenly came alive, especially if it was the shadow drawing of a monster. How scary would that be?
Outside The Box
Some of Damon’s pieces are very simple, like smiling flowers or cute little trains. But some are way more outside the box.
Damon says his inspiration comes from watching the TV shows he loved as a kid growing up.
“I grew up watching a lot of Warner Brothers cartoons, as well as reading and watching Japanese anime and manga,” says Damon. You can really see his influences showing up on the streets of Redwood City!
There are a lot of little robots in his work, and therefore on the sidewalks, and there’s a reason for that.
“Robotech was a popular series when I was a kid, a Japanese anime translated for American audiences,” says Damon.
“I also enjoyed Transformers, which was based on a Japanese toy line. The last two had a heavy emphasis on robots. Cartoons have been my core competency since I was a kid.” They’re more than meets the eye!
Damon isn’t just influenced by cartoons, although his work does have a very cartoon-like vibe to it.
Damon says he’s been influenced by artists like Takashi Murakami and he also loves other Western artists as well.
Although, we can totally see the cartoon influence. Everything in the streets comes alive, just like how it would if you were living in a cartoon. We’d also expect the mailboxes and streetlamp to start talking to us at any moment.
Under The Influence
Damon gives credit to his influences, and also says that you can see them in his work.
“I think this mix of influences comes through in the playfulness of the shadows and of course the recurring robot theme,” says Damon.
“Redwood City wanted something whimsical and fun, something that appeals to everybody.” This certainly does appeal to everyone, except for the people who hate imagination. But nothing ever really appeals to those people. They’re so sad all the time.
That's What Friends Are For
In totally, there are 20 pieces of public art painted by Damon scattered around Redwood City.
But Damon didn’t do all of the work by himself. He got by with a little help from his friends.
Damon drew the outline for the figures in chalk, but his wife and members of the committee who chose his art helped him color in the outlines using grey paint. It truly is a team effort to spruce up the city!
The art from Damon was commissioned by a non-profit in order to spruce up the city.
The non-profit is called the Redwood City Improvement Association, and it planned to spend $30,000 on art instiallations all around Redwood City.
Damon was chosen to participate in the first half of the project, which must be a huge honor for Damon! His works have certainly livened up the city, too. It’s so incredibly whimsical. Yes, whimsical is the only word for it.
Eric Lochtfeld is the president of the board for the Redwood City Improvement Association and he also owns Fox Theaters.
Eric was one of the people who helped make Damon’s artwork happen, and thus, made the city of Redwood City a lot more magical.
“It’s whimsical, magical. It’s fun. I think it’s a good fit for Redwood City.” says Eric of the art, even though he wasn’t on the committee that picked the art. There’s that word whimsical again.
Eric says that the grant to put public art in Redwood City was actually competitive.
“We think there’s a great opportunity to build a bridge to an artistic community that’s large and thriving,” Eric said of the project.
“We had quite a few local artists that applied for the grant.” We’re glad that Damon ended up getting it, because these streets look hella dope! It makes us want to visit Redwood City just to see all this cool art.
The Next Big Thing
But the Redwood City Improvement Association isn’t just stopping at sidewalks. They have big plans to expand the public art in the city.
“What we’re asking for at the moment is people to offer up their walls. We’re looking for walls right now,” says Eric.
Mark our words, walls are going to be huge. Both literally and figuratively. Go out and invest in walls right now, because walls are going to be the next big thing. You’ll see!
Damon also isn’t going to be limited to the medium of chalk and paint on a concrete canvas.
Damon was chosen to spruce up Redwood City’s walls, and will create an interactive wall mural as part of a second public art installation.
We can’t imagine what that would look like, only because Damon’s imagination seems to be more advanced than the average human’s imagination. It’s evolved well beyond anything that the modern man can ever think of.
Nothing Is Forever
This artwork looks really cool now, but it might not last as long as we’d want it to.
We want it to last until the end of time, if that’s even possible. But as Damon says, “”Nothing is truly permanent.”
Damon painted the images using paint meant for concrete patios, so they will probably last a long time, even if it’s not 100% absolutely, totally, and completely permanent. As he said, nothing can ever last that long even if you want it to!
Slay The Dragon
Imagine you’re walking down the street after a late night out on the town, and you see this dragon coming at you.
That would be really trippy and really confusing! You always thought that the lampposts were harboring a secret, but now you know!
We can’t imagine how many drunken people have tried to get into a fight with a shadow dragon drawn on the ground because they thought it was real and looking at them weird.
Imagine going to the mailbox to send off your letters or Netflix DVDs if that’s even still a thing anymore.
You look down, and you see this giant monster trying to swallow all of you mail!
Your Netflix DVDs will never be returned, because this monster has used them for food! You won’t be able to get the next DVD in your queue. What a horrible, evil, and wicked monster who wants to make everyone around him suffer!
Off The Rails
You don’t need train tracks to use this little old timey train car like these small robots are.
All you need is a handrail and an imagination, and you’re good to go! It’s just as good!
It makes us wonder what everyday objects are doing behind our backs. They have this whole secret life that we never knew about. Those sneaky little things! It’s like Toy Story, but more of a surprise. We knew that toys have a secret life!
Greetings From Redwood City
If anyone needs us, we’ll be busy planning a trip to Redwood City just so we can see all of these cool shadows.
We don’t know what there is to do in Redwood City beyond look at this art.
We might just end up spending our whole trip looking standing in front of this mailbox. But honestly, these sidewalk paintings are so cool, we wouldn’t be sad if that’s all we did. It would be totally worth it!