Houston Blue Trees Return. Plagiarized by Parks and Rec.

by Paula Newton March 29, 2018

Those who remember the “Painted Trees” installation that the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) commissioned from artist Konstantin Dimopoulos five years ago at Waugh and Memorial were surprised to see its recent return.

According to numerous Facebook posts, the new colored trees (blue and green) had nothing to do with HAA or Dimopoulos; this was the work of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. When several local artists called out the plagiaristic nature of the new project, Dimopoulos’ wife replied:

It’s Adele Dimopoulos here, Kon’s wife and business manager. We most certainly do know about the blue trees being copied by city Parks and we are in the process of addressing this through various channels.

We are aware that there is a much bigger issue of copyright and IP for all artists at stake here. So sit tight and let’s see what shakes down.

Below is a video about the original installation.



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Bill Davenport March 29, 2018 - 16:38

So now we can’t paint trees anymore? What about Lee Littlefield? The thing about what we used to call “easy ideas” back in art school is that everyone’s had them before, many times. Doesn’t mean they’re bad ideas, just commonplace.

Stäcy Smith April 2, 2018 - 15:53

I agree, I think it’s nice to have a splash of color given that 75% of the year the crepe Mertles are not blooming and look like tracks of giant antlers… provided that the paint being used doesn’t actually hurt or stunt the growth of the tree…

Laura Scavone March 30, 2018 - 10:52

Dimopoulos coordinated with Parks and Rec in that he used the trees they planted and cared for in his piece. I am discouraged by the view that an artist OWNS an idea, regardless of what came before him/her and who may have contributed to its creation and success.

DBGHouston March 31, 2018 - 20:46

I was channeling the ghost of Yves Klein yesterday and he suggested we stop treating those beautiful crepe myrtles like decorations at a tacky putt-putt golf course. Also why any organization, HAA or the Parks Dept., would lure selfie seekers across roads without parking or pedestrian crossings boggles the mind. Leave the trees alone and leave our eyes alone.

HelenaGVW April 1, 2018 - 11:57

I agree.

Sallie April 3, 2018 - 13:40

My office faces the trees and make me happy when I look out the window. I enjoyed the first iteration by Konstantin Dimopoulos and am delighted that the parks dept. has continued the idea.

Patrick May 31, 2018 - 04:48

Awesome , amazing & sublime.. I like that something is being done using the Crepes . My father , James O’Rourke , in the late 1960’s , designed the master plan along Memorial Drive that included the Crepe Myrtles . He was the Assistant Director of the Parks & Recreation Dept. when he conceived this plan. In his private practice he did the Master Plan for the Galleria Mall Sections 1-4. He also did select private residences , commercial projects ,etc. I know he’d love this use of the People’s Crepe Myrtle’s !!! It’s public art.Deal with it!!

Still concerned tax paying art lover June 1, 2018 - 08:56

Emotional, personal responses that end in “Deal with it” should stay in a diary. Public forums are good, but inherently draw these kinds of comments. These kinds of comments are the sort that go to council and get a lot of waste of time questions from councilmembers. What we, the art community, need is for professors, curators and professional artists to voice their opinions in public more often. We hear for passionate individuals too much, so much that they actually change policy sometimes-which isn’t always a good thing (squeaky wheel grease and so on). From Alabama’s recent news to prohibition, loud and passionate people make decisions that aren’t always the best for the general public. The power of presence and voice can get a lot done, it can even get an unqualified person to the biggest seat in the country- basically, lets hear from some more rational minds…the peanut gallery needs intellectual argument.

Robbie September 5, 2019 - 14:48

People have been painting trees for hundreds of years, not just for artistic value, but to repel insects. So the artist stating this is something revolutionary that he ‘invented’ is nonsense.

I’m glad to see folks getting enjoyment from a little color in a traffic clover that’s usually dark and gloomy.


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