Walking to and from school we’ve all noticed the beautiful street art painted on utility boxes. We admire the beauty of Garden Grove due to the paintings without realizing that it’s the artwork of a very local artist – our very own Patricia Laukat (12).
As a self taught artist, Patricia painted these utility boxes 3 years ago for her GirlScouts project with fellow troop member and artist, Alyssa Johnson. At the time, they were pursuing the Girl Scout Silver Award, the highest award that a Girl Scout Cadette can earn by completing a 50-hour long project that benefits the community.
The first step in the art project itself was asking for permission from the 2014 mayor ofGarden Grove, Bruce Broadwater. The two girls did a presentation about their plan to paint utility boxes around the Civic Center area, citing their inspiration from the painted boxes they saw in the city of Gilroy. This idea caught Mayor Broadwater’s interest – what an opportunity to showcase Garden Grove’s history while giving the city a fresh new look!
After going through a trial run with a strawberry-themed box on Euclid and Acacia, they were given approval to decorate four more. On the streets of Euclid and College stands a utility box decorated with orange crate labels. A third box with a stained-glass theme can be seen on Euclid and Stanford. Between Main Street and Garden Grove Blvd is a box with a historic depiction of a water tower and a red car. Finally, an orange tree decorates the utility box on Euclid and Garden Grove Blvd – a testament to Garden Grove’s agricultural history.
Throughout the painting process, Patricia felt “a lot of excitement to be able to have [her] artwork on the street and seen by everyone”. She hopes that her creations will change the negative association between street art and graffiti. Patricia also hopes these paintings inspire other artists to take the opportunity to spread their art on the street as she did and give our home of Garden Grove an artistic touch.
Although at first Patricia doubted her artistic abilities and believed it wasn’t good enough to beautify the city, her parents and art teac
hers helped her overcome her insecurity. They encouraged her to gradually perfect her artwork. Because of their support, Patricia spent many hours honing her art skills until she finally “felt more confident about it”.
Patricia is no longer afraid to take on new life-changing opportunities like painting the utility boxes, and she hopes that one day, her idea of painting a mural will become a reality. She also encourages others to follow art and break away from the mentality that you need talent in order to be an artist. Patricia suggests practicing often to get you “where you’re trying to be without fear,” and “When you are given opportunities, take them.” Exposing yourself to the art world and taking advantage of the opportunities you encounter as she did can help you become a better artist.
With these new opportunities and experiences, Patricia is open to painting anything for anyone as her small business. She hopes to open an art gallery in the future where she can create more artworks, beautifying the world around her. Decorating her city of Garden Grove was just the beginning.