One would call John Bukaty, a visitor to New Orleans on a mission. But, his mission -the bring a sense of beauty to one of the scourges of the Crescent City - is something usually handled by the N.O. Public Works department.
But, Bukaty didn't feel like waiting for those guys..
“When I first moved down here, I was like, ‘Are you freaking kidding me? Do you know how bad the streets are?’” he stated.
However, the response he usually got from locals, wouldn't surprise anyone. Everybody was like, ‘Yeah, we know. We’re just used to it.’
When Bukaty, (41) an artist and native of Kansas City, moved to New Orleans, he was completely unprepared for the terrible street acne NOLA is known for.
“For the first month, I’d hit (a pothole) and my nerves would hit my neck, and I was pissed,” he said.
Yet he didn't leave town or complain - he got creative and developed an exhibit out of his anger.
To initiate his creative process, Bukaty and his team line their chosen pothole subjects with plastic sheeting, then in goes the plaster. But, public safety is always a concern for them - they always put cones around their work areas first.
“What’s funny is that while we were doing the potholes, putting cones up, we were actually making the streets safe,” he claimed. Then-- “Maybe not safer for us," he added.
Pieces in his exhibit range in size, from small to gigantic, based on their source subjects. Plus, Bukaty has added casts of additional street scenes like streetcar tracks, to further enforce the reality of his art.
And art it may be, but Bukaty hardly thinks potholes are beautiful. “Life is about trying to find beauty in the ugliness of everyday life,” he said. “I’ve found that as a common theme. And there ain’t nothing pretty about potholes.”
NOLA Pot Holes: Impressions of Street Art
John Bukaty Studio & Gallery, 841 Carondelet St. (The former site of Jonathan Ferrara Gallery)
More information and times: Visit the gallery website