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Unlikely art

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1511 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
This photo shows a local neighborhood "map" in the window of one of my favorite stores anywhere, Metsker Maps in downtown Seattle. "Without geography, we're nowhere," proclaims a bumper sticker from what's been a family-run institution for over...
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Bisbee, AZ 85603, USA
Above this delicious selection of hot sauces, this tongue-in-cheek 'retablo' (altarpiece) says: "My God, thank you, because Poco is open, and I don't have to wash any more glasses and forks..." If you're in this Victorian-era mile-high mining town...
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Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
In the Samcheong-dong neighborhood, I saw this whimsical mural on the side of a bakery—perfect for a Francophile Korean sweet tooth. I became a lover of macarons (not to be confused with macaroons) when I lived in Paris. I had no idea that the...
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Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tired, but determined not to succumb to jet-lag on my first evening in Seoul in almost two decades, I went for a walk in the Bukchon neighborhood...no backpack, no camera--just my iPhone in my pocket. One of the first things that caught my eye was...
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33 Subway St, Bisbee, AZ 85603, USA
A mile high and just up the road from the Mexican border, the Victorian mining town of Bisbee has no shortage of galleries. Artist and gallery owner Poe Dismuke often works by the light coming in from the streetfront window. Here, his easel holds,...
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Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA
On an otherwise nondescript downtown wall behind a light rail transit stop, a line-up of bolas make for some unlikely art in Phoenix. Artist Michael Maglich has interpreted Arizona's official neckwear, the bola tie, in a row of a few dozen...
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801 Market St, St. Louis, MO 63101, USA
Reaching skyward, this monumentally-sized bronze Pinocchio graces downtown St. Louis. "Citygarden" takes up a couple of blocks and is dotted with sculptures of various styles in a garden setting—popular with office workers on their lunch breaks...
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Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Walking in one of Seoul's newer neighborhoods south of the Han River, this unlikely art caught my eye: a sculpture of backpack-toting gorilla climbing up an apartment building. The Gangnam district of Seoul has splashes of whimsy among the new...
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5039 East 5th Street, Tucson, AZ 85711, USA
In mid-town Tucson, along with the best Tom Kha Gai soup in town, this mural awaits you in Char's Thai Restaurant. The juxtaposition of mythical Southeast Asian creatures and Monument Valley desert scenery makes for some very unlikely, but...
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In Bisbee, Arizona, a quirky mile-high mining town not far from the Mexican border, you'll come across this façade on winding Tombstone Canyon Rd, just north of the Victorian center--unlikely art including etch-a-sketches and firemen's helmets....
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Av El Progreso, Masaya, Nicaragua
In Perú, I'd spotted a chess with Spaniard and Inca as opposing sides; I didn't have the cash on hand and couldn't get it, though. Then, a few years later, visiting the handicrafts market in Masaya, Nicaragua, I saw another set--no Inca history in...
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161 Sajik-ro, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Walking in Seoul on a rainy day, I looked up from the obstacle course of puddles and saw this parking 'guardian?' 'attendant?' 'demon?' The scowl, the creepily realistic wrinkled fingers of the hands in a prayer (!) pose--I fumbled my iPhone out...
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Ellis St & 6th St, Augusta, GA 30901, USA
A blue horse on a balcony? Why not..."Seattle Blue" is the name of this mosaic-covered-statue by artist Paul Pearman, located on a quirky corner in Augusta, GA, a riverside city of underrated architectural history... This brick building was built...
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Vesta 245, Arboledas de Señora, 37205 León, Gto., Mexico
León is a city of colonial churches. Several times a year, processions parade around town; the saints keep marching...and so there's a local cottage industry of making and repairing the statues. In the outskirts of this Nicaraguan city, with...
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Belleville, 75020 Paris, France
In the Belleville neighborhood of Paris, this wall that would otherwise be nondescript brick is covered in unlikely art, with the caveat: "beware of words." A bit of artistic 3-D in the 20th arrondissement, by the artist Benjamin Vautier. (To see...
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3era. Avenida NO y 1era. calle NO, Del Parque Central 2 cuadras al Oeste, 1/2 cuadra al Norte, León 21000, Nicaragua
In the heart of León, Nicaragua, the Hotel El Convento is located in what used to be the Convento de San Francisco, dating from the 17th century. Refurbished as a hotel in 2000, the lobby is full of colonial art and antiques--but I was a bit...
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6 Main St, Bisbee, AZ 85603, USA
In the backstreets of the mile-high mining town of Bisbee, Arizona, some unlikely art: a stencil of Mona Lisa? blindfolded? framed by Buddhist philosophy? This is some of the street-art that inspires residents in this SE Arizona town to display...
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Old Quebec, Quebec City, QC, Canada
While walking within the walls of Old Québec a few years ago, (my fourth visit, but the first for my wife), this blond-maned horse caught my eye. Incidentally, in Québec French, "blonde" is more than just a hair color. It's often used to mean...
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N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ, USA
Come here and you'll find a solar-powered bookstore, a Guatemalan restaurant, pubs, galleries, cafés, and this brick wall tribute to Gregory Colbert's "Boy Reading to Elephant." (The words that come to mind when I pass this street art are "tell me...