I have to admit that I have yet to see these… but I am going out today with eyes cast downward. In recent months, tiny hand painted gnomes have begun to populate the utility poles of Oakland. The artist prefers to remain anonymous, and continues to crank out nearly 100 gnomes a week according the the LA Times. The story made national news last week on NPR. Apparently the owner of the utility poles, PG&E were unaware of their existence until the San Francisco Chronicle reported on the phenomenon.
In a way too typical myopic corporate response, PG&E responded that all of the gnomes would have to be removed/ relocated: that the company could not have anything compromising the integrity of their equipment. Yeah, right. A tiny piece of wood is compromising your equipment. A public uproar ensued, included petitions, a Facebook page, and a meeting with PG&E, city officials and the mysterious artist himself. Fortunately, PG&E backed down and declared the utility poles gnome man’s land for now. According to the artist, there are currently over 2300 gnomes populating the city as of right now. Keep an eye our around Lake Merritt, Haddon Hill, and around Highland Hospital.