Tunnelvision and Busted Plug – Columbia, South Carolina

South Carolina  |  SC Picture Project  |  Richland County Photos  |  Tunnelvision and Busted Plug

Artist Blue Sky (born Warren Edward Johnson) is known in South Carolina primarily for his trompe l’oeil murals and larger-than-life sculptures. Many are located in the capital city, but others can be found as far away as Union, Florence, and Darlington (see Old Darlington Public Square). The Columbia native is an alumnus of Dreher High School and earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of South Carolina. His work has appeared nationally – including in the Smithsonian – and among his many awards is South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Palmetto, which he received in 2000.

Tunnelvision Mural by Blue Sky

Tunnelvision Mural Columbia

SCIWAY, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Tunnelvision, probably Blue Sky’s most well-known work, is adjacent to his giant hydrant sculpture and painted on the wall of the AgFirst Farm Credit Bank at Marion and Taylor Streets, a building soon to be converted into apartments. However, the public art will remain intact on the building when the building becomes living space. Unveiled in 1975, the mural gives the illusion of a tunnel heading into a sunset landscape.

Tunnelvision Mural

SCIWAY, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Blue Sky says that the vision for this piece came to him in a dream, hence the mural’s title.The 50-x-75-foot painting took Blue Sky a year to complete, for which he was paid $3,000 by the Arts Commission.

Blue Sky Mural in Columbia

SCIWAY, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Busted Plug by Blue Sky

Busted Plug by Blue Sky

SCIWAY, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Busted Plug Plaza, a 40-foot-tall concrete, steel, and aluminum sculpture, is also located at the corner of Marion and Taylor Streets in downtown Columbia. The project took 14 months to complete and included the direction of an architect, a structural engineer, and a general contractor. It was unveiled in 2001 and remains the largest fire hydrant in the country.

Tunnelvision and Busted Plug Info

Address: Taylor and Marion Streets, Columbia, SC 29201

Tunnelvision and Busted Plug Map

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The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Tunnelvision and Busted Plug, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!

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