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

freeways and overpasses part 1 IIHIH
Wayne Thiebaud, 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.

Freeways and Overpasses: An Artists’ Muse

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.

Wayne Thiebaud's "Freeway 289", painted in 1977
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” by John Margaris

above: “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

above: “Driving Into SF” by SF painter Carolyn Meyer

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”

above: Fielden Harper’s “Freeway” series

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


See more wonderful paintings of Freeways and Overpasses at Part II