I’m in a conundrum these days! Do I continue my art work or prepare the next 10 years of my life. In, the meantime, my project The incessant Journey is as you have noticed taken over my life. Just like an obsession that won’t let go. Manhole covers are up and down and all around me. 

I’m discovering more and more artists who create using manhole covers as their muse. I received an email from Will Karp who occupies most of his time photographing and creating art with photographs of manhole covers.

Similar to my preocupation, Will has collected hundreds of images of manhole covers on his travels from the American Southwest to the Middle East. 

Awarded first prize at the Santa Fe Arts Commission in 2011, his composition of "Manhole Covers of Santa Fe” heightened his passion for manhole cover art.

I continue to wonder who’s behind the designs of manhole covers with intricate three dimensional motifs comprising of grids, concentric arcs and circles, cross hatching, insignias, and other geometric shapes. The multitude and variety of designs produced is staggering. Not only do the covers themselves offer an eyeful, but the colors and textures of the surrounding pavement whether pebbles, bricks, cobblestones, grass, dirt or asphalt, create a unique canvas for each cover.

Different mediums including book arts, printmaking, magnets, posters, and large installations are used in Will’s work. His latest creation is a book entitled Manhole Mania, A Tribute To Ground Art

Will, hopes that each set of pages that unfolds reveal a refreshing way to appreciate and see the artfulness of utility covers that are right under our feet for us to enjoy, if only we knew it.

© 2016 Will Karp, compositions using 16 photos of New Mexico

© 2016 Will Karp, compositions using 16 photos of New Mexico

Searching through the internet for others with a penchant towards the ground, I have found other artists who design intricate manhole covers for their cities.

Nancy Blum designed the City Light, City Bright manhole cover in 2001, in which the flowers represent the city and the electric pattern in the background represent the utility side of manhole covers.

© 2016 Nancy Blum, City Light, City Bright

© 2016 Nancy Blum, City Light, City Bright

In 1990 The City of Minneapolis reached out in the artist community to create artwork for Nicollet Mall in Downtown Minneapolis. 

Kate Burke commissioned by the city to create manhole covers designs to replace the covers over 13 city blocks around the Nicollet Mall. There are 11 different designs which commemorate the state designations and other icons of the state. Included are the state flower, fish, tree, bird, grain, fruit; and the grains. These manhole covers are absolutely gorgeous. They are a must see. I hope I can go trough Minneapolis again and add these to a second volume of Minnesota.

An in-depth dialogue with Kate will be part of another post later in the year.

Continuing with my conundrum, I need to figure out what to do with my life—an incessant journey on its own. Time goes by fast and work is slow these days, I need to get back to what is important. The first issue is to get my printers working after 3 months off. Wish me luck and hope you find your own purpose in life, go DO.