Lonely Planet Writer

Magical shadow art is transforming everyday objects on the streets of Redwood in California

An artist has transformed a selection of sidewalks in Redwood City, California into quirky public installations with a project that has seen him painting shadows that look like a host of weird and wonderful characters.

A character painted to look like the shadow of a postbox in Redwood City, California.
A character painted to look like the shadow of a postbox in Redwood City, California. Image by Damon Belanger

Created by Damon Belanger following a call-out by non-profit organisation Redwood City Improvement Association, the Redwood City Shadow Art project contains a total of 20 pieces done throughout the downtown area. All of the artwork was painted by hand, and saw a flat shadow dimensional effect being added to interact with everyday objects on the street such as postboxes and street signs. Unique designs can be seen on bike racks at Middlefield near the Courthouse Square, at lampposts in front of the Dragon Theatre on Broadway, and at benches by the post office off Jefferson.

A painting on the street made to look like the shadow of a dog.
A painting on the street made to look like the shadow of a dog. Image by Damon Belanger

“Once the project was underway and locations were chosen, I took inspiration from the area and the items casting the shadow. For example, the images around the train station are all train-inspired. In all cases, the way I approached the pieces was: given what is casting a shadow, what else could that thing be or project, given its size and shape? What if it transformed and came alive?” Damon told Lonely Planet Travel News.

The reaction to the work has been positive, with many people stopping to watch Damon as he painted, and he also said that he has been thanked by members of the public for brightening up the urban space.

A robot shadow painting on the streets of Redwood City, California.
A robot shadow painting on the streets of Redwood City, California. Image by Damon Belanger

A second public art installation in the form of an interactive wall mural is set to be completed later this year, while Damon hopes to be able to continue his work in this style, having enjoyed the liberty and creativity of the project. “I think what makes this artwork different from other sidewalk-based projects is that I had free range to make the shadows just about anything I wanted. Robots, monsters and other whimsical creatures. I was constrained only by the colour, and theoretically by the size and shape of the object casting the shadow. I think it makes for a surreal and surprising experience,” Damon said.

More of Damon’s work is available on his official website, while a location map for the art work can be found here.