Wednesday, October 17, 2018
News Roundup

Tarpon Springs neighbors baffled by house, trees covered in aluminum foil

TARPON SPRINGS — Neighbors haven't quite wrapped their heads around what's going on at 402 Ashland Ave., where aluminum foil covers every inch of a house on three sides and dangles like silver earrings from trees.

They've asked resident Piotr Janowski: Is he installing new insulation, pest control, antennas? He explains that it's an outdoor art project, inspired by Florida's beauty.

Someone called his landlord and code enforcement. A city arborist inspected the trees, some of them also wrapped in foil, and concluded they were not in danger. Code enforcement is still trying to determine if the project is violating any ordinances, said police Sgt. Ed Miller.

"This is art," Janowski said. "In their thick, bureaucratic books, I'm sure they have nothing against this."

Born in Poland, Janowski, 53, is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has created contemporary sculptures, prints, photography, and paintings and previously exhibited work at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago.

In December, he moved from Vienna to Tarpon Springs and rented a 1,180-square-foot house built in 1958 near Whitcomb Bayou. Once in Florida, he was enamored of the sunshine and the shadows of the palm trees.

"I was really happy with the location, the garden," he said. "And from that time, something was cooking in my head."

• • •

Janowski had painted on aluminum sheets before and decided to incorporate that into his idea. He bought Reynolds Wrap heavy duty rolls at Costco and covered two palm trees to highlight the trunks' texture.

Then Janowski went to Home Depot, bought chicken wire, and created structures resembling ears. He cloaked the wire frames in foil and attached six of them to trees in his front yard.

"The ears are a symbol of curiosity," he said. "This is also kind of a relationship between the nature and my work."

The project was completed in May when Janowski and his friend, Paul Mlynarczyk, bought about 12 aluminum rolls and carefully plastered the foil, covered in adhesive spray, onto three sides of the house, creating a reflective, silvery surface.

"This is a bit like you're making gold leaf," Janowski said. "The house was simply about the transformation, how easily you can transform an ugly, ordinary house to something else."

• • •

His neighbors are not impressed.

"I don't know what the heck that thing is," said Lynn Martin, who has lived across the street for about 20 years. "It's the strangest thing I've ever seen in my life."

Martin said she did not complain to the city but hopes the project doesn't draw crowds to the quiet neighborhood.

Another neighbor, Candy Labbate, said she first noticed the chicken wire structures, which she called "discs," a few months ago and thought Janowski was trying to improve his Internet signal. She later found out it was art.

"To each his own," Labbate said. "It's just odd."

The landlord declined to comment.

In about a month, the art will come down, and Janowski plans on contacting museums about creating similar displays elsewhere.

"It doesn't matter if they love it or hate it. It's very good for any artist," Janowski said of the criticism. "This is just really the beginning."

Times staff researchers Caryn Baird and John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Laura C. Morel at [email protected] or follow @lauracmorel.

     
 
Comments
Judge allows taller, wider motel in Hernando Beach

Judge allows taller, wider motel in Hernando Beach

Neighbors say the expansion will bring traffic and noise, and hurt their property values.
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Mayor Mel Jurado drops

Mayor Mel Jurado drops "Ph.D." from bio at Temple Terrace website

TEMPLE TERRACE — Mayor Mel Jurado said nothing as speaker after speaker took to the microphone during Tuesday’s city council meeting to address revelations that the Ph.D. she has long touted comes from a diploma mill and that she cannot prove she hol...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Approach to charter schools separates Toledo, Bellanti in state House 60 race

Approach to charter schools separates Toledo, Bellanti in state House 60 race

TAMPA — Republican state Rep. Jackie Toledo won her first term by 14 percentage points, a lopsided victory that shows how the district she represents favors a Republican.Two years later, Toledo has drawn a challenge from Democrat Debra Bellant...
Updated: 12 minutes ago
They’ve met 475 Tuesdays in a row to help real estate pros rebound from the housing crash

They’ve met 475 Tuesdays in a row to help real estate pros rebound from the housing crash

TAMPA — A decade ago this fall, the U.S. economy was in crisis. The investment firm Lehman Brothers collapsed in the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history. Major banks were about to fail. The stock market plunged. And in Florida, "real estate stopped co...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Forfeits put Gibbs’ playoff hopes in jeopardy

Forfeits put Gibbs’ playoff hopes in jeopardy

Gibbs High was fined $700 and had to forfeit its first six games of the regular season for using a fifth-year senior who was ruled ineligible by the Florida High School Athletic Association.In all, the Gladiators forfeited seven games, including a pr...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Pasco County pitching pair gets a shot at USA Softball junior national team

Pasco County pitching pair gets a shot at USA Softball junior national team

LAND O'LAKES — A fourth-grade friendship forged by softball had resulted in a collection of lifetime memories for pals Callie Turner and Lexi Kilfoyl.The high school seniors have both led their prep teams — Turner at Land O'Lakes, Kilfoyl...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pedestrian, 79, critically injured while crossing U.S. 19 in Clearwater

Pedestrian, 79, critically injured while crossing U.S. 19 in Clearwater

A 79-year-old woman remains in critical condition after being struck by a car on U.S. 19.
Updated: 1 hour ago
New Port Richey councilman: Should the city spend $800,000 on a fire truck or let the county handle it?

New Port Richey councilman: Should the city spend $800,000 on a fire truck or let the county handle it?

Councilman also suggests Pasco County pay the city for services
Updated: 1 hour ago
Plant City man arrested, 74-year-old in critical condition after Polk hit-and-run

Plant City man arrested, 74-year-old in critical condition after Polk hit-and-run

Ricky Perez wanted to visit his mother’s grave. On the way back, Polk County deputies said, he nearly sent someone else to their own.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bunny Ranch owner and GOP candidate Dennis Hof dies in Nevada

Bunny Ranch owner and GOP candidate Dennis Hof dies in Nevada

Dennis Hof, the limelight-loving Bunny Ranch owner who parlayed his legal pimp fame into a GOP nomination for the Nevada Assembly, has died.The brothel boss who billed himself as the “Trump from Pahrump” turned 72 on Sunday.Porn star Ro...
Updated: 1 hour ago