This New York Street Artist Is Turning Ordinary Objects into Funny and Brilliant Designs

You'll never look at a manhole cover the same way again.

As great as modern technology is, there’s no denying that some of the accompanying contraptions, like pipes, electric meters, and manhole covers, can be eyesores. Metal gadgets like these abound on city streets and beside buildings, and no one really looks twice at them.

But one street artist has found a way to make some of these necessary but unattractive objects eye-catching and fun. Tom Bob, who works primarily in New York City, gives them a makeover, with awesome results. All he needs is his own boundless imagination and some paint. His work is similar to that of this talented barn-painting artist.

Most of his designs take the form of colorful animals, like this croc “escaping” from a New York city sewer:

But he’ll paint people, too, if it works best with the structure he’s working with:

The city itself is his canvas. All of the objects in the above photo were there already; he just added the paint!

He’ll even play a little game with his Instagram followers, posting a “before” image of the object he is working with so that they can try to guess what he’s going to turn it into.

People guessed a camel, a kangaroo, even an old man with a cane. But then, with some pink paint, this electrical box became…

…a balancing flamingo!

Learn about the city that’s reducing speeding by painting fake speed bumps.

Some of his designs are very simple, like this hole-in-the-wall-turned-birdcage…

…while some, like these electric-meter monkeys, are full of whimsy.

Can you imagine walking by one of these in your city? It would brighten your day for sure!

Follow him on Instagram at tombobnyc. We can’t wait to see what you create next, Tom!

Next, check out some more fascinating city art.


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Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a Staff Writer for who has been writing since before she could write. She graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been writing for Reader's Digest since 2017. In spring 2017, her creative nonfiction piece "Anticipation" was published in Angles literary magazine.