Gas Station Covered in Blankets

via Unusual Life:

Tired of seeing the abandoned eyesore on a daily basis, artist Jennifer Marsh decided to cover this old gas station in 5,000 square feet of fabric.

With the help of professional and amateur artists from 15 countries and more than 2,500 grade-school students in 29 states, Marsh covered the 50-year-old former Citgo station — pumps, light stands, signs and all — with more than 3,000 fiber panels that are crocheted, knitted, quilted or stitched together.

What the gas station looked like before the project.

Video of the installation:

More photos and behind the scenes info are on the artist’s website.

25 thoughts on “Gas Station Covered in Blankets”

  1. This is so sad.

    My first reaction to this is shock and outrage at the waste of time and resources on this project. They took so many resources that could have been used for something worthwhile to do this ‘art’. It is not a prank, it is not really ‘art’, it is a spit in the face of all those poor that have trouble staying warm in the winter, or could have benefited from the volunteer effort of 2500+ people, or a better use of these physical resources.

    As a side note, can we stop covering crappy ‘art’ events and start covering the pranks that we were promised?

  2. It looks good, and I approve of covering abandoned places with art, but I have to question their materials. Blankets are going to deteriorate pretty quickly exposed to the weather like that, leaving just a bigger eyesore than was there before.

  3. @ozymandias,

    “Urban Prankster covers pranks, hacks, participatory art, flash mobs, and other creative endeavors that take place in public places in cities across the world.”

    This has been the mission statement from the start. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to come here every day and complain.

    I’m debating getting rid of comments on this blog altogether. This is a place to celebrate cool ideas/events happening around the world, not pick them apart and debate what is art. It sucks that every time I try to showcase something I like, someone else has to knock it down. I guess that’s just how internet comments work– only the haters take the time to post.

  4. @charlie todd

    If you like it so much then you have every right to say it, but this really does look worse than before. The arial shot on the video looks like there is garbage all over building. They could have painted it and turned it into something useful like a homeless shelter and put all the blankets in it.

    I just wanted to comment on this to try to prevent other people from doing stupid art projects that actually make things worse and don’t make any statement other than how stupid the people who did it are.

  5. @Charlie Todd
    This is a particularly horrible instance, as it is so insulting to those in need. So much wasted effort and resources on something so stupid, even ignoring the fact that this project makes the site look worse, and has much less durability than the original site, and has the potential of health issues, related to the rodents, bugs, and mold that a fabric covered building is going to create.

    I guess when you made the decision to restrict to the troops activities and shuffle the other content here, that the stuff here would reflect what was getting removed from that site. That is the whole reason I stick around — I am trying to support the site until you get back on your feet and get going with ‘the good stuff’. You are welcome to post what you want, but I have seen from other comments that I am not the only one not impressed by the not-art on this site, and if a few people are commenting, you know that others agree, but don’t comment.

    I don’t mean to cause problems, but some of this ‘innovative art’ is neither innovative, nor art, and is definitely not why some of us are coming here. Are we going to have a regular spray-paint graffiti update soon? That seems to be the route that this site is taking, and as a long time reader of, I want to see this site succeed, and am doing what I can to help address a problem I see. Sorry if you feel that reader opinions are unimportant, or that mine is a problem.

  6. @ozymandias
    You could use that argument for every single thing people do- anything that requires any bit of effort; you could argue that effort should have been put towards some other cause you believe to be more important. It’s been argued for thousands of years and it’s not a particularly helpful argument as it is subjective to what you think is most important and is entirely relative to a person’s world view- something you can’t change. There ARE people who would say the occasional collaborative art piece and all that comes with it and results from it is more important than extra blankets for the homeless. You don’t have to agree with them but consider a different tactic than the way you approached it. What’s done is done- instead of insulting them why not put that effort towards starting a new collaborative effort to knit blankets for the homeless? That seems like a much better use of your time and energy. But why stop there- why are you pumping gas into your car that degrades the environment and weakens our nation’s financial independance? And why are you buying that bottle of wine when there are people in parts of the world that don’t have access to clean drinking water? And why are you spending all the extraneous time with your family when you should be spending time stopping other families from being slaughtered in genocide? Finally, consider you do not know the entire story- maybe the building wasn’t safe to be used for anything else. Maybe the town doesn’t NEED a homeless shelter- homeless people are pretty rare once you get into suburbia and rural America. Maybe they already have an adequate homeless shelter. Maybe if they made it into a homeless shelter another group would get angry it wasn’t made into a batter woman’s shelter. Some parents groups might have wanted it turned into a neighborhood playground since their kids have nowhere safe to play. I mean- it goes on and on and on… everyone has their causes and soapboxes; we have to be tolerant and not expect everyone else to put their priorities the same as you or me

    Personally, I think the piece is great. Art is a tricky thing. You never know how much good or bad will come out of it. It’s very possible this piece could do more good for more people than the blankets donation they could have made instead. You never know what it’ll inspire- like perhaps ozymandias launching an even larger scale effort to get blankets to those those that need them.

  7. wow guys calm down if your take was true then I should just sell all my stuff and move into a box. I got your back Charlie these people need to lighten up.

  8. Hiya,

    This “art” is an interesting criticism of abandoned places and thinking of them in different ways. I agree, however, that as creative responses to this problem go, this one does seem awfully wasteful and ineffective. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong here, though. Maybe not the best prank / art but something that can give one a moment of contemplation.

    As far as comments go, keep them or not. I think that criticism of art and pranking is valid and useful, and for those who overstep the bounds of tactful criticism, you can either ignore them or even remove their comments. I would discourage “feeding the trolls.”


  9. I, too, question the medium for this art.
    Yes, it is initially beautiful, and it is great for photos and videos, HOWEVER, this material will be sunbleached and will not last very long.
    I understand everyones point of view, and agree with everyone, including the artists, but we need to be thinking of the long run.
    Sorry, but this will not last. I wish it could.

  10. For heaven’s sake, people–it’s ART. NOT a service project. Since when does all art have to be some sort of “feed the poor” bid? Yes, it won’t last forever, but that’s part of the “art” of it.

    And as for those poor children in Africa who starve every time you don’t eat your broccoli, try shipping it over there. It’ll be moldy before it even arrives. Not everything has to have some sort of purpose, you know. Sometimes it is okay just to have a little fun.

    I certainly wouldn’t bother to drape a gas station in fabric, but if that’s what floats their boats–by gad. I say let them sew away!

  11. I wish I could see this live- it is beautiful. Anyone worrying about those who are cold should go out and buy them blankets instead of being critical of this project. It would bring a little serendipity in my day to be driving along and see this interesting artistic creation. Critics!!! Find something else to fuss about- go picket Exxon-Mobile! Get to action instead of complaining which doesn’t help anyone!

    Pranksters- keep up the good work!

  12. “Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command…
    …My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
    –Percy Bysshe Shelley

    This strikes me as a great big stinkin’ satire… but so do a lot of things.

  13. people…. people… i don’t see why is the problem… if you don’t agree with the cover up, go on and build a shelter… if you think is gonna wear out, go on an put a plastico coating all over it… if you think is ugly, go on an do something prettier yourself… if you thisk is a waste of time, then get up of your chair and try to help someone other that yourself… worried about diceases and pests, demolish the whole building (rats live everywhere, not just fabrics)… the thing is that you didn’t do anything to change the way things are now so why take it on those who do something (altougth i thing this won’t change the current events in any way)
    those who are envoronmentally aware stay that way… thos who aren’t wont’t change their minds because a bunch of statements… the only way to change things is to do something not to stop those who are actually trying… come up with a better idea and maybe you’ll get the 2500+ people on your team working towards something…
    aplogies for my english but i’m an outsider that is just as affected as you are with oil and money problems…

    finally… Awesome work sewing together all the pieces… are you planning on doing another of this???

    “Stupidity is not a crime, so you are free to go”

  14. Charlie- I share your sentiment about possibly removing comments. All those reacting negatively and bashing the project sound like they don’t have a creative bone in their body. My guess is that all of those whining about money being better spent, the poor, Habitat for Humanity, etc., don’t donate a percentage of their income every month to charity, have never taken a blanket to a homeless shelter, and have never worked on an HFH build. The utter ignorance and lack of understanding about community based art just screams out in these comments. What a horrible thing for artists from 15 countries and more than 2,500 grade-school students in 29 states to collaborate on, no?

  15. I want to say to those who make critic that this piece of work is now out there.People can judge on their own what to do with it.I mean if somebody pass by and see this he can either admire the art or remove the blankets and give them to the homeless.Urban pranksters made the move and that is what matters(sorry for my english, i am from Greece)

  16. This is utterly amazing.

    Some of the really narrow minds commenting are also kind of amusing. 🙂

  17. I thought this was a really interesting idea. While I agree that sure, those efforts could have been used for something else, at least those people were doing something. The people that got upset at the use of materials and volunteers that could have gone towards helping the homeless or some other charity event of sorts, well you must be hypocritical. If you’ve taken place in any prank, or scene, those effort also could have gone towards something more productive. If every time there was a prank planned, those people instead went and volunteered at a soup kitchen, sure that would be awesome. These people however are trying to have fun and put a little excitement/chaos into the boring routine of some onlookers life.

    I say well done on the building. It truly looks amazing.

  18. bitchin’ on the internets about what isn’t art doesn’t build houses. but maybe encouraging people to rethink how they consider abandoned spaces can turn some hearts, or turn some hands to ploughshares, as it were. there are more than enough blankets out there for folks in need – this artist begs the question of redistribution of resources, which is at the heart of homelessness and poverty, especially in America. thanks for posting.

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