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Monday, April 8, 2013

Key West Street Art, the Mystery Blob, Gains Fans

Resembling an abstract SpongeBob SquarePants on acid, the Key West Mystery Blob, started out as a small street art project but has quickly gained a loyal following. Two years ago, the whimsical character began popping up around the island on unexpected spots like lamp posts, sides of buildings, fire hydrants, street signs and dumpsters, and he was always doing something unexpected. The Blob’s been spotted suited up for snorkeling, dressed like Charlie Chapman, riding a dragon, drinking beer, defusing a bomb and getting arrested. There have been over 500 Blob installations made with a technique called wheat pasting. Thin paper is pasted onto a surface with corn starch and water, eventually to be worn away by the weather.

Most cities would consider the Blob graffiti, but this is the fun and funky Key West we’re talking about. While there are some naysayers, many of the locals have embraced the character, especially children. It’s become a popular activity to hunt down and photograph the critter and post his location on the Blob’s Facebook Page. Yep, the Blob has his own Facebook page with over 1200 followers. You might say he’s even becoming a bit of a mascot. Visitors have become hip to the phenomenon and set up their own Blob walks or rides, as a sort of scavenger hunt. Local businesses even got in on the action. Harpoon Harry’s installed a gigantic Blob at Christmas on their roof; he wore a sailor hat and had a contingent of joyful penguins. In June, he had his own successful art show at Art Space Gallery, and now he’s started a Kickstarter project to raise funds to produce a book of Blob drawings. One of the most impressive feats--the artist has managed to stay anonymous all this time.

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