Dallas artist VET created the colorful fence art from disarded materials. Photos by Patsy Davila.

Nov. 6, 2017

A chain link fence in the Bishop Arts District in Dallas recently got an eco-friendly makeover. The once drab border surrounding an apartment complex construction site at 305 Melba Street now sports a vibrant underwater scene made from discarded materials. As a result, a colorful seahorse, toothy shark, trailing seaweed, undulating waves and stylish school of fish is drawing smiles and compliments from local residents.

Fence art“I see them every morning on my walk. They brighten my day,” posted one Oak Cliff resident on Facebook. 

“I love the shark. I hear the theme music to Jaws whenever I look at it,” said Patsy Davila, Oak Cliff resident and artist, who also worked on the fence project.

The fence art, which stretches 200 feet, was created by the Dallas artist VET using a range of recycled materials including salvaged construction fence, water hoses, rubber insulation, CD’s, tulle fabric and plastic table covers. It took VET and a team of seven helpers about 300 hours to complete the project.

Fence art“I love working with found objects and this is an opportunity to show how whimsical repurposing can be on a large scale,” said VET.                                             

Urban Genesis, the developer behind the Bishop Highline, commissioned VET to create the art to beautify what is typically an eyesore during construction – the chain link fence that must be put up to ensure resident safety.

“We have to keep art alive in Bishop Arts,” said Matt Shafiezadeh, Urban Genesis principal. “The artists of Bishop Arts are what make this neighborhood unique. With the fence we saw an opportunity to have fun and add some art to the neighborhood.”

Fence artThe underwater art was created by weaving various materials directly into the fence. Among the different creatures depicted are a 10-foot long clown fish, an open-mouthed shark, a pink-and-orange seahorse and a school of black fish, the leader of which is wearing a string of pearls.

“Art has a way of bringing people together. The underwater theme offers a moment of surprise, reflection and wonder amidst the neighborhoods’ period of transition,” says VET.

The new apartments, one of four properties in The Bishop Highline portfolio, will open its doors to new tenants in March of 2018. When it does, Urban Genesis plans to try to move the fence with artwork intact to another construction site, so that the underwater art can live on.

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