Cartoon City, U.S.A.

Once I went to visit some rad friends in Austin, Texas. They lived behind a cupcake shop with a giant rotating cupcake on top. And down the road was a gym with a bulging muscular arm sticking out of it. A further drive away was a food co-op with a dinosaur on its roof. And in the other direction, a restaurant with a giant burger being towed by a car…on its roof. The city was positively teeming with giant things! But all the Austinites I talked to hadn’t really noticed?

It was weird. I mean, if I drew the Austin skyline it would be giant boxes of fries next to a giant zebra dressed as Carmen Miranda next to a huge boot next to a giant cowboy hat next to a huge boot (there are lots of big boots). If the average Austinite drew the skyline, s/he’d probably draw the state capitol and some buildings.

My mission was clear. I had to go to Austin to appreciate all the under-appreciated things on top of buildings. I ended up living there in the summer of 2010. I lived in a cool co-op and did a cool internship. But the rest of my waking hours were spent visiting all the oversized monuments to mundanity and taking one picture of each of them with a disposable camera. So diligent was my quest that I ended up visiting the studio where all these monuments are created. Being eye-level with something intended to be seen from far below is a really cool experience. I hope you get to try it sometime.

And now, pictures (though not all of them because I misplaced half).

The Gym
Oh you know, just a tattoo shop with a skull-head octopus pirate.
I saw so many giant boots that it was hard to decide which one to photograph. I ended up snapping this shot last-minute in bad lighting just before leaving. Oh well.
Some giant things are independent of their buildings, but they still rule.
I’m absolutely certain this thrift store is sponsored by mid-90s Nickelodeon. It is my very favorite.
A streetlight named floor lamp. (That’s my friend Leah pulling the chain.)
Jury’s out on whether these were actual kids in caps and gowns hanging out on top of a building or just replicas.
The Art Store
The home of all the best giant things. They don’t usually have visitors, but they let me have a look around. I think this place should be on the official tour of Austin.

Thank you, Austin!

Cartoon City, U.S.A.

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