The Art of Potholes

An artist finds inspiration in everything, by looking beyond what we see in everyday life to find beauty in the most surprising and unexpected of places. It is the ability to find and appreciate beauty that has spurred several artists to create “pothole artworks.” It is inspiring to think that something as simple as broken asphalt can be the starting point for beautiful works of art.

Pretty Parisian Knits

Apparently in Paris, commercial paving isn’t what it used to be! In fact, the roads there are so bad and so marred with unsightly potholes that young artist Juliana Santacruz Herrera decided to do something about it. In 2009, she gathered an array of knitting supplies and went to work crafting beautiful, knitted plugs to fill-in undesirable potholes. She named her endeavor “Project Pothole” and gained attention for her lovely designs. Of course, the knitted pothole plugs didn’t last for very long, but they did serve the important purpose of inspiring people to think outside the box (or hole) – to take something ugly and transform it into a thing of beauty. You can check out some of her design on Flikr.

Pothole Photography

Meanwhile, in New York City, photographer Davide Luciano, decided to use potholes in and around the city as props in his photographs. But instead of simply documenting the potholes, he transformed them into a variety unlikely scenarios, including a grape-stomping pit, a pile of spaghetti and meatballs, a swimming pool fit for a diver (and a drowner!), and more. The best part of the story? Luciano actually got the idea for his project after he had a rough encounter with a pothole, proving that good things can come out of bad events. Luciano’s artwork can be seen on his website.

A Pothole Garden


You don’t have to be a professional photographer or skilled artist to improve on a pothole. You may only need a green thumb! Recently, urban gardeners have been planting small gardens inside of potholes, too. Some grow a favorite flower, while others add tiny garden ornaments. Either way these gardens provide people with something pretty to look at in place of something unpleasant. Pothole gardens are doable for anyone, and they happen to work especially well for homegrown potholes, such as holes in your driveway or sidewalk. Check out pothole gardener Steve Wheen’s blog for great examples of pothole gardens worldwide.

If your driveway or parking area is looking a little worn, or worse, you could be the target of criminals. That’s because summer is the time of year for asphalt scammers. These are dishonest individuals who knock on doors claiming to represent a  professional asphalt paving company or out of work contractor. While they may offer a paving job for cheap, what’s likely to happen is either a poorly done job, or no work done at all. Elderly homeowners are particularly vulnerable to these schemes, but any trusting person can fall victim. Be on your guard against hiring someone to do work on your property without background checking them first. Here are some common asphalt paving scams making the rounds.

The Extra Asphalt Scheme

Imagine this scenario: you’re sitting at home one afternoon when a worker knocks at your door. He tells you that he is working on another home in the neighborhood, has extra asphalt from the project and can give you a great deal on repaving your driveway.  Before you say yes, ask to see some credentials. Chances are, the so-called contractor will run for the hills. Legitimate contractors very rarely  solicit work door-to-door. Furthermore, most have plenty of uses for any “extra” asphalt they have, so there’s no reason for them to be peddling it to you. What you’re likely dealing with is a skilled scammer. This person may have come across some asphalt cheaply and is trying to make some money from it, regardless of whether he has the skills to do so. The asphalt may even have been stolen.

Asphalt scammers are smart and will often get the names of nearby homeowners who have recently had work done on their properties in order to win your trust. Don’t let them reel you in! Either they will take your money upfront and never be heard from again, or they will do the work poorly. Or they may quote you one price and then demand a much higher sum once the work is done.

The “Limited Time Offer” Scam

In another common scenario, a “contractor” offers you a great price on a repaving job, but requires payment in full, upfront. The scammer will use very high pressure sales techniques, calling it a “one time offer.” Remember, though, that legitimate contractors are in no hurry to take your money. They will provide you with an upfront estimate, including the number of months or years that the estimate is good for.

These are just two common scams in the asphalt paving world. There are many others. To protect yourself and your property, always research a contractor before doing business, and never allow work to commence on your property without having a fully signed contract in hand.