Breath of Funky Fresh Air

This month’s field trip was hard work. As the hectic month wore on, we found ourselves postponing it again, and again… and again. But, we buckled down, completed our work to our exacting standards and allowed ourselves to get some fresh air. As usual, we were glad we did – this time, under Patrick’s direction. Our first stop on this month’s field trip was the famously quirky Beer Can House, located at 222 Malone Street. A monument to longtime owner John Milkovisch’s passion for beer, the shimmering house is a sight to see on sunny days. Once we got over the initial “wow” factor, the sheer magnitude and detail of the project set in. Fences, awnings and spaces where grass would ordinarily grow are all occupied by meticulously trimmed and arranged beer cans.  When Ripley’s Believe It Or Not visited the house, they estimated that about 50,000 beer cans adorn the structure. John’s wife, Mary, had this to say about her unusual residence: “He didn’t think anybody would ever be interested in it. He just loved drinking his beer and just loved being outside and cutting up the beer cans.”


Continuing our Orange Show tour, we popped over to Art Car Museum on Heights Boulevard for a dose of visionary art and to celebrate one of our city’s funkiest traditions. The Art Car Museum acts as an exhibition forum for “local, national and international artists with an emphasis on art cars, other fine arts and artists that are rarely, if ever, acknowledged by other cultural institutions.” Houston is known as the “Art Car Capital of the World” and hosts a yearly parade featuring these mobile masterpieces. To gaze upon an art car is to wonder: How did they DO that? At first, the mish-mash of marbles, teacups, action figures and other random curios is almost overwhelming, but a closer inspection reveals a method to their madness.


As we concluded our April field trip with happy hour at Jimmy’s Ice House and talked about anything but work, we reveled in our much-needed brain break. However, we can learn something from John Milkovisch and our local car artists. We appreciate their fanatic attention to detail, but particularly admire the passion behind it. John Milkovisch never thought he would be lauded as a contemporary artist for doing what he would have done in his spare time anyway, and we suspect those that dedicate themselves to the construction of an art car may be a little crazy (in the best possible way). While we may not be able to cover the office in aluminum or knickknacks, we can certainly aspire to bring that kind of creative energy and enthusiasm to our work. To take a line from John’s wife, Mary – you never know who may be interested in what you’re doing.


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