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Freeways and Overpasses: An Artists’ Muse. Part I.


above: Wayne Thiebaud’s “Freeways”, 1978

Having grown up in California, the car culture capital of the world, and having done a lot of driving in my time (including two cross-country trips), I’ve grown accustomed to the sight of freeways and overpasses. I never found them ‘ugly’ as so many people claim. And I was happy to find that I am not alone in my opinion.

Despite the fact that many people find these a blight of urban sprawl, several artists consider them a subject worth painting. I have come across many beautiful paintings of these concrete and asphalt ‘monstrosities’ over the years and wanted to share just a few of them with you.

I can’t think of a better place to start than Wayne Thiebaud‘s Freeway paintings done in the late 1970s.


above: Wayne Thiebaud’s “Freeway 289”, painted in 1977

Clearly Derek Bruckner was inspired by Thiebaud:

above: Derek Bruckner’s “Freeway 2”

…and quite possibly so was Bruce Bomberger and Chris Chappell:

above: Bruce Bomberger’s “Freeways”


above: Chris Chappell’s “Highway Overpass”

Lest you think only the organic intertwining of curving roads held appeal as a subject, take a look at the numerous painting of overpasses, from above and below.


above: “Underpass” by Daniel Dolberg



above: “Passing Through Again” and “Departure” by John Margaris



above: Jamee Linton’s “Shift of Desire” followed by his “Displacement”



above: “Overpass” by Peter Harris and his “Urban Icon”


above: Derek Bruckner’s “Overpass”


above: “210” by William Wray


above: Reuben Colley’s “Freeway”


above: Damon Denys’ “Overpass I-80”


above: “Under The Overpass” by Ned Stern



above: “Under The Over” by SF painter Carolyn Meyer. Below that, her “Driving Into SF”



above: Michelle Muldrow’s “Habitat SF” and her “South Van Ness”


above: “Transport” by Andrew Denman


above: “Overpass 25” by Christy Patrick


above: “The Overpass”, watercolor by Richard Van Wagoner


above: Ben McLaughlin’s “Overpass”


above: Gerald Schwartz’ “Overpass”


above: “Under the 110 Freeway” by Jennifer McChristian


above: Overpass” by Ann West


above: Jylian Gustlin’s Overpass


above: Jylian Gustlin’s “90 M.P.H. 20”


Kirah Van Sickle’s “Overpass” in acrylics



above: Fielden Harper’s “OffRamp” and below that; Fielden Harper’s “Freeway” series

I considered including photography and drawings of overpassess and freeways, but there were simply too many.

Below each image is the website on which you can find the above paintings. Many are still available for purchase. Enjoy!

See more wonderful paintings of Freeways and Overpasses at Part II

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