The Blue Trees
Photo: Rainee Arguelle
Konstantin Dimopoulos, The Blue Trees, 2013.
In partnership with Galveston Arts Center
Funding Sources: The Brown Foundation, Inc., Anchorage Foundation of Texas, Brad and Leslie Bucher, Amegy Bank of Texas and American International Group, Inc. Additional funds for the Galveston component were made possible by the Galveston Park Board through funding from Hotel and Motel Tax Dollars generated from hotel guests visiting the Island.
Konstantin Dimopoulos’s temporary public art installation The Blue Trees came to Houston and Galveston in March, 2013, as part of the international conversation about deforestation and its global impact. Houston Arts Alliance (HAA), in collaboration with Galveston Arts Center, invited Dimopoulos to recreate his living outdoor project in Houston and Galveston as a response to the loss of millions of trees during the drought of 2011 and the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. The Houston/Galveston installations extended and reinterpreted the original project launched in April 2011 at the Vancouver Biennale.
With the help of local volunteers, Dimopoulos colored tree trunks with biologically safe, water-based ultramarine mineral pigments, bringing attention to our trees. In a region of Texas known for its love of trees, the vibrant shade of blue in contrast with the bright green of new leaves garnered even greater awareness of our native trees and the need to prepare for extreme weather conditions that may harm them. By transforming living trees into blue giants, Dimopoulos elevated their role in our lives from everyday landscape to objects of appreciation. An ephemeral work, the trees gradually reverted back to their natural state over a six-month period. Striving to address global deforestation of old growth forests, Dimopoulos provided a visual platform to effect change.
“So many universal concerns seem larger than an individual’s power of influence, and I want to evoke in people the idea that we can all contribute to change in a positive way,” the artist said. “The fact that blue is a color that is not naturally identified with trees suggests to the viewer that something unusual, something out of the ordinary, has happened. It becomes a magical transformation. Trees are largely invisible in our daily lives, and it’s not until it’s too late that we realize how important they are to us both aesthetically and environmentally.”
The Blue Trees installations in Houston included the large stands of crepe myrtles between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive at Waugh Drive; the trees at the historic Houston Parks and Recreation Department Gragg Building; and a solitary tree at the HAA offices.
Exhibition sites in Galveston were created in partnership with Houston Arts Alliance, Galveston Arts Center, Galveston Island Tree Conservancy and the National Hotel Artist Lofts. The Blue Trees could be seen at the Satori Elementary School, Trinity School, Saengerfest Park at 23rd and The Strand, and along 25th Street.
The general public was encouraged to join in the international conversation surrounding The Blue Trees by posting their thoughts, commentary and images with #BlueTrees, #climatechange and #deforestation.