Auckland-born artist Paul Walsh has been painting telephone utility boxes around his home city since 2013 with animal characters inspired by Internet memes, and so far has painted fifteen. Earlier that year, Walsh painted a Grumpy Cat on a wall in a local dog park and quickly got famous, thanks to social media. Then someone from Chorus, the company that operates New Zealand's phone network, got in touch with him and asked if he would like to paint their utility boxes instead. Paul Walsh agreed.
Initially, Walsh was not compensated for his efforts, so he launched an online fund raising campaign and managed to raise $1,300 that allowed him to take some time off from his day job and devote those hours to turning the big ugly boxes that sit in public areas into eye-catching works of art. In a recent post over at Bored Panda, however, Walsh discloses that he gets “paid a small fee for each one – enough to cover time and materials.”
His artworks have been embraced by the local communities, and the Internet loves them. His work was featured on dozens of blogs and street art websites. He was even interviewed by CNN and a public TV show on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Last week, he also had an exhibition of paintings featuring over a dozen large animal-themed canvases inspired by his Chorus cabinet artworks.
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