Artist adorns Gowanus Canal with ‘roses’ made from Ralph Lauren shirts

Artist adorns Gowanus Canal with ‘roses’ made from Ralph Lauren shirts
‘Lo end theory: Gowanus artist Carlton Scott Sturgill affixes roses made of torn-up Ralph Lauren duds to a fence along the Gowanus Canal on Union Street.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

There is something blooming on the Gowanus Canal, and, no, it is not toxic algae.

A local artist installed a pair of fabric rose-bushes on the banks of the fetid waterway on Oct. 16, using discarded Ralph Lauren shirts to create a burst of color he said was inspired by the detritus left in the neighborhood by illegal dumpers.

“When you look at the industrial appliances and clothing and stuff littering the ground, if you squint it can look like a garden,” said Carlton Scott Sturgill, a Windsor Terrace textile artist who works out of a studio in Gowanus. “I wanted to turn detritus into actual flowers.”

Expensive taste: How does the old saying go? Don’t forget to stop and take notice of the classy textile patterns on the roses?
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

The project was a collaboration between Sturgill, local arts organization Arts Gowanus, and the Department of Transportation, which funded the installation and allowed Sturgill to put the fabric flowers on Department property.

Sturgill has been working on the installation since about July, and spent the last few months combing thrift shops — and occasionally Ebay — for the once-high-end shirts in the colors he needed. He said each bush, on either side of the Union Street bridge, took about 20 shirts, which became the petals of 150 to 175 roses.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhuro‌witz@‌cnglo‌cal.com or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz

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