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Solar-powered Street Art in Queen Village

March 30, 2019

Words and photos by Streets Dept Contributor, Eric Dale

Installation and sticker artist D.T. just put up an elaborate new piece of abstract art at 6th and Bainbridge streets in Queen Village, complete with solar-powered LEDs that automatically turn on at night!

After Queen Village restaurant and bar Bainbridge Barrelhouse followed him on Instagram, the artist reached out to them to see if they were interested in having some of his work nearby. The owner replied that there was a pole right next door that would be a great place for one of his pieces. So D.T. got to work on something he had started building a while ago but never finished. “It sat in a box for a few months—it’s been around for a little bit,” said the artist.

The completed piece appears to be an eclectic assortment of personal items arranged in a display case. And that’s exactly what it is—after screwing it onto the pole, D.T. elaborated on some of the objects inside:

“The spikes are borrowed from a roof on 2nd Street in Fishtown; the dice are dice that I made valve caps out of, for my bike—I’ve still got like 100 of them; Jumping Jacks are my favorite firework; I love riding bikes; I love airplanes; when I played hockey for a little bit I wanted to be a goalie; the cord thing I took off the bus; the Euro Motor thing was given to me by another artist; I like foreign money; my sister gave me a whole set of old Star Wars pins; that’s a bike grip—half a bike grip anyway; and then my sticker, cause that was empty space. That’s pretty much it!”

Of course, the most unusual element of this piece is the illumination. Outfitted with LEDs, a solar charger, and a light sensor, the inside of the case lights up at nightfall (but the LEDs don’t last all night long, so the piece is best viewed right after sunset). “I just try to do different things,” D.T. told me. “I [put in solar lights] because I haven’t seen it done yet.” He later added, “I love solar shit.”

D.T. took a six-year break from street art before getting back into it around 2015. “It kills me that I never got as much out then, but it also created who I am by staying creative in private and learning new techniques that I use all the time now.” The artist has a renewed appetite for creating his distinctive brand of street art after seeing how much his fans love the handful of brightly colored, multimedia wood block installations he’s placed around the city over the past few years. He expressed an interest in increasing his output this year, so keep your eyes peeled!

After stepping back and surveying his work, D.T. concluded, “It turned out a little bit better than I expected!” I certainly agree!

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