Paul Kittelson Supersizes Aluminum Lawn Chairs

Updated on February 24, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Super-sized aluminum lawn chairs by artist Paul Kittelson
Super-sized aluminum lawn chairs by artist Paul Kittelson

True North Sculpture Exhibit

Paul Kittelson installed a couple of whimsical super-sized webbed aluminum lawn chairs in the True North sculpture exhibit. This display on Heights Boulevard in Houston, Texas, is now a part of history. It was fun strolling along the paths admiring the different sculptures. Eight local Houston artists had their works of art presented to the public. You could play ‘catch up’ here if you missed seeing the show in person.

These aluminum lawn chairs surely took me back in time! When I was growing up in the 1950s, these lawn chairs were trendy.

I was about ten years of age when my parents gave me my first camera. It was a Christmas gift, and I used my Brownie box camera to capture the family photo below.

My mother and a couple of my cousins are on the left. In a checkered dress is my grandmother standing next to my grandfather. My great uncle and a couple of my great aunts are also in this photo. We were enjoying an outdoor picnic.

Old family photo with aluminum lawn chairs in the mix
Old family photo with aluminum lawn chairs in the mix | Source

Webbed Aluminum Lawn Chairs

These retro mid-century webbed aluminum lawn chairs were frequently used by many people as lawn or patio chairs when I was growing up.

My parents and grandparents had both the folding chairs and stationary or non-folding styles that stacked one on top of the other. They also had the webbed aluminum chaise lounges.

Artist Paul Kittelson was born in 1959, so he undoubtedly remembers many of these vintage chairs. These lawn chairs sell on sites like Amazon and eBay for anywhere from $20 to $50 on average. The re-web chair kits are still available as well.

After the True North sculpture exhibit was over in early November of 2014, Kittelson’s giant-sized aluminum “Lawn Chairs” were on sale for $5,000 each. I wonder who ended up with these realistic super-sized sculptures? Quite a few kids (of all ages!) could sit in just one of his gigantic chairs.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Following World War II, I was one of the early baby boomers. Back in those days, most people were in the habit of saving. They were happy to use second-hand items passed down to them from family or friends. Most products built during those times were meant to last. The mantra of ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’ was not yet heard. It was just natural for most people of that generation to be thrifty.

I remember my mother putting patches on clothes and darning socks if there were holes in them. People did not easily discard goods if there was still some use of it that could be derived.

When the webbing of those aluminum chairs would wear out, new straps would be put on the chairs to freshen them up again! I saw my parents do that. Fortunately for people who can still locate these types of vintage lawn chairs, webbing is still available.

Have you ever personally used these types of aluminum lawn chairs?

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Artist Paul Kittelson

Mr. Kittelson teaches on the faculty of the University of Houston School of Art. He earned his Masters of Fine Arts degree there in 1985. Before that, he got his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of California in Santa Barbara.

This well known Houston artist has had numerous one-person exhibits in Houston art galleries. He has also participated in group exhibitions in Texas. These group exhibitions include the cities of San Antonio, Abilene, Beeville, Midland, Wichita Falls, Austin as well as in Houston. Other states where his art has been shown include North Carolina, California, New York, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, and Illinois. Outside of the U.S., his artwork has been on view in Lima, Peru, and Shanghai, China.

From the funky art car parades to many large scale public art projects around town, many people have gotten to view the works of Paul Kittelson. That is in addition to those works of his which are located in museum collections.

Thanks for the flashback in time, Mr. Kittelson! Your giant-sized “Lawn Chairs” have made people smile and resurrected memories of earlier days for many of us.

Super-sized aluminum lawn chairs by artist Paul Kittelson
Super-sized aluminum lawn chairs by artist Paul Kittelson | Source

Artists in the True North Sculpture Exhibit:

The following artists also had their sculptures displayed.

  • Carter Ernst
  • Patrick Medrano
  • Lee Littlefield
  • Dan Havel
  • Steve Murphy
  • Dean Ruck
  • Ed Wilson

Sources

http://www.paulkittelson.com/

https://www.redbudgallery.com/true-north

© 2020 Peggy Woods

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    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      3 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi FlourishAnyway,

      We used to have those types of chairs, as you can see from my old photo. It is good to know that they are still available, as well as the kits to replace the webbing.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 months ago from USA

      This brought back memories. I’d like to see those giant lawn chairs or at least get me a set of retro inspired lawn chairs. They were awesome.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Kari,

      I did not capture photos of people sitting in them. To even get into them would have been an effort! Glad you liked this!

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      5 months ago from Ohio

      I love the pictures of the supersized lawn chairs. The people and pets around them are comically small.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Bill,

      Glad that this article brought some smiles to your face. Enjoy your day today!

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ann,

      That Box Brownie camera was the start of my enthusiasm for photography. It was a terrific gift when I was a youngster. I am so pleased that you enjoyed this article inspired by a retro look at those lawn chairs which served as art.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm in a hurry this morning, and I was going to skip this one, but the title grabbed me. Great memories associated with those web chair. Now I'm smiling thanks to you.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      5 months ago from SW England

      Great art, great info and great pictures!

      You also took me back to when I too used a Box Brownie, my first camera which I still have! It was the start of my enthusiasm for photography, inspired by my father.

      Ann

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Thelma,

      It was a surprise to see those old-fashioned lawn chairs made into art. It made me smile, and I am sure that it had the same effect on others.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Pamela,

      As a baby boomer, my parents also taught us to be thrifty. After all, their parents had survived the Depression. Art does indeed come in many forms.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      5 months ago from Germany and Philippines

      Those are good looking chairs. That is a nice idea for an exhibition. Thank you for sharing.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I have used those chairs and my mother taught me how to darn socks. My parents were part of that thrifty generation. Art comes in many interesting forms. This is another good article, Peggy.

    • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

      Peggy Woods 

      5 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Liz,

      They certainly were attention grabbers! I witnessed several people sitting in them at one time. It was a fun exhibit.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      5 months ago from UK

      I remember chairs like these. They were all the rage at one time. What an interesting idea for an exhibit. They must be a real talking point.

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