Fantasy Fences

Chain links get whimsical facelifts

Folks wandering around Hudson County have probably noticed them—a curious kind of artwork on fences around our towns. “Is that toilet paper?” asked one incredulous onlooker.
Hardly. That métier would never stand up to the elements, and this is outsider art, in the true sense of the word.
The artist is Norman Kirby, who makes his creations from straps of canvas, after experimenting with rope (too easily stolen) and colored ribbon (too expensive).
Kirby, who works as a painter’s assistant at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, gets his canvas from what’s left over after stretching it on stretcher bars.
“I’ve always been interested in street art,” Kirby says, “and this seemed like a good way to express myself. I see a fence and think of something to put there or a find a location for something I already want.”
And what about the ephemeral nature of his work? “Canvas lasts for awhile but will eventually deteriorate,” he says. “It does bother me.”
For all you photographers out there, photographing it is the best way to preserve Kirby’s art—Kate Rounds

Check out more of Kirby’s art in the next issue of Jersey City Magazine. Visit


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