Blue trees

I’m not going to lie to you; I was a little stumped when I first saw the forest of blue trees outside Westlake Center in Seattle. For a city that I love for its environmentally aware and eco-friendly ethos, painting tree trunks blue seemed a little out of place.

blue trees, westlake center, seattle, Konstantin Dimopoulos, travel, art, photography, ailsa prideaux-mooney, travelogue

It struck me as so jarring that I looked a little further into the story behind the trees. It turns out the blue trees in Seattle are part of a larger project by Australian artist Konstantin Dimopoulos to raise awareness and start a discussion about the importance of trees and the dangers of global deforestation.

blue trees, westlake center, seattle, Konstantin Dimopoulos, travel, art, photography, ailsa prideaux-mooney, travelogue

While you sit quietly on a park bench in the shade of Seattle’s blue trees, you can rest easy knowing that the trees have been painted with a temporary and environmentally friendly solution of a vibrant blue rock, azurite, mixed with water.

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I bet they look spectacular when the chill of autumn turns the leaves russet and gold.


About ailsapm

Hi there! I’m Ailsa Prideaux-Mooney. I’ve lived in many places, and travelled to many more. I had a lot of fun getting there and being there, wherever there happened to be at the time. I climbed a castle wall in Czesky Krumlov, abseiled down cliffs to go caving in the west of Ireland, slept on the beach in Paros, got chased by a swarm of bees in Vourvourou (ok that wasn’t fun, but it was exciting), learned flower arranging in Tokyo, found myself in the middle of a riot in Seoul, learned to snowboard in Salzburg, got lost in a labyrinth in Budapest and had my ice cream stolen by a gull in Cornwall. And I’m just getting started. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, I’d love you to follow my travelogue - - and remember, anyone who tries to tell you it’s a small world hasn’t tried to see it all.
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68 Responses to Blue trees

  1. tgeriatrix says:

    Blue is my favourite colour, but it looks kind of strange.

  2. It’s like you’re in an animated world. Haha

  3. But it’s cool, though.

  4. pommepal says:

    I’m pleased to hear that they used enviromentally safe solution and not toxic paint. It does look unnatural though, but certainly brightens the place up, you can’t ignore them…

    • ailsapm says:

      They certainly pop out at you when you’re walking by, pommepal, it made me do a double -take. They actually do look beautiful in an unexpected way.

  5. George Hardwick says:

    Seattle just got a little more relaxing. Nice post!

    • ailsapm says:

      Thanks George, I have to say Seattle is one of the more laid-back US cities that I’ve encountered. I like it a lot! 🙂

  6. suej says:

    Wow, weird! But the back story makes it less alien…..

  7. Funny how our brain registers this as strange – especially as the lapis blue with the limey new foliage really stunningly beautiful. Wonder how long it will last? Do remember to keep an eye on them next time you have a lot of rain and let us know if there’s been a dimming?

    • ailsapm says:

      I’ve been wandering by them for quite a while and they’re not showing any signs of fading, I suspect it will be a very gradual process, there’s an awful lot of blue on there!

  8. aj vosse says:

    Blue trees!! I’m wondering what challenge you’re going to set tomorrow? 😉

  9. djdfr says:

    Very pretty. I hope they can breathe.

  10. chhavidamani says:

    It’s beautiful…

  11. Madhu says:

    That is my favourite combination, but not on a tree! I agree that it must look much nicer with winter foliage 🙂

  12. ilargia64 says:

    It is a strange thing…I am not sure … Do I like it or not.? …But the story that is behind is very nice…Sometimes we give a lot of things for granted…And it is necessary to take care of our environment…

    • ailsapm says:

      I know, I go back and forth, visually it’s really quite spectacular but it’s also disquieting – which I suppose is the point, it makes you stop and think.

  13. Karen says:

    Loving the lime and blue mix!

  14. viveka says:

    I was taken by those blue trees .. when I visit last year and now I have the story behind them.
    You’re so right … those trees rock the city center.

  15. Madoqua says:

    Go Aussie go! He needs to paint some blue trees back home too!
    Environmental awareness needs a boost everywhere!

    • ailsapm says:

      Yes it does, Madoqua. He has painted trees in several locations – I saw on his website that he did a blue tree project in Melbourne in 2006.

  16. mix color mix 🙂 *Brigid

  17. Heyjude says:

    interesting story. Also glad the trees can breathe, and wonder how long the colour will last. Keep us informed 🙂

  18. Tina Schell says:

    Very interesting post Ailsa. Personally I’m not a fan of things like this and wish they’d find some other way to raise awareness but art as always is a very individual thing so I’m sure there are many who love it. Thanks for sharing it!

  19. We saw these last summer when we were visiting Seattle. They were very pretty.

  20. I LOVE them to bits… Now to go searching for some here in Australia…

  21. Very surreal – like others I hope the trees are really okay and wonder how long the color will last. Visually, I think I like it. But I think what bothers me is that you had to make an effort to find out what the idea behind the project is, instead of it being made clear right there on-site. The artist can’t realistically expect to “raise awareness” and “start a discussion” if the only impression people walk away with is “Huh, that looked weird.”

    • ailsapm says:

      There is a sign nearby that has a brief outline of the intention behind the project, although I think a lot of people miss it – I didn’t see too many folks stopping to check it out but there’s a lot more information available online. He’s done similar trees in various other locations too.

  22. markd60 says:

    This reminds me of an artist that was painting dead trees. It was several years ago and I don’t remember where I read it though.

  23. Epi B says:

    It’s actually a really good idea! We take trees for granted and painting them blue suddenly makes us notice them again! “What’s going on with these trees?!” and by creating that question in the minds of passers by, you make room for a discussion about the environment. Very clever!
    Thanks for sharing it with us!

  24. Thanks for answering that question. 🙂 I never knew why the trees were blue but look at them all the time!

  25. A veritable Blue Man Group of trees. I love the first image. The blue is so striking! I’m also glad it was art, and not some treatment for illness or bugs, and that the paint is safe for plant and animals!

  26. dreaminofobx says:

    I love the blue trees contrasting with the new spring-green leaves…certainly works as an attention-getter! I have issues painting a flat wall in my house, so my hat’s off to the artist for his patience in what looks to be very thorough coverage of all that textured and contoured bark!

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  28. Stunning; I think I like blue trunks! 🙂 Great idea!

  29. Lynette says:

    The blue looks really great with the green leaves, but in the winter, it just looks like of scary. Great pics!

  30. Lucid Gypsy says:

    The stuff of fantasy films. I’m so glad it’s safe and temporary but it’s really interesting to see 🙂

  31. mpejovic says:

    Looks very elvish… in a good way.

  32. On Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, we wondered why the lower portion of all the tree trunks in town had been painted white, then found out it prevented bugs from infesting the trees. Another tree painting that looks odd until you know the reason behind it.

  33. Linne says:

    I love Seattle, too, but haven’t been there for years. What a great idea this is; I hope it’s repeated all over. Trees are SO vital, and we generally just take them for granted, don’t we?

  34. Gunta says:

    I like the whole concept with a bonus of raising awareness. Way to go Seattle!

  35. ideflex says:

    You’ll have to give us an update in the fall! What a great way to promote awareness…

  36. marcopesce57 says:

    Downtown Denver’s big blue bear would look great in this blue forest!

  37. Hmmmmm. I really like these blue trunks. I’m glad it’s all not harming anything and is in the spirit of awareness. I’d like to see them around here. As beautiful as nature can be, it’s a nice change. Maybe like in the fall, the leaves AND the trunks could change. 😉

  38. Stunning, especially that green/blue contrast.

  39. says:

    Wonderful and calming. I was alarmed at first too! Environmentally blue Azurite ! Of course!!
    I wonder if it stains the pavers.

  40. johanesjonaz says:

    wow! cool.. is that real?

  41. Pat . says:

    Looks like a terrorist attack with chemical weapons – I guess I’ll have to cancel my trip to Seattle…

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  43. How long will this blue last?

  44. lautal says:

    I’ve seen them already on the “Pride in Photos” blog. Anyway it is spectacular.

  45. Amy says:

    It’s creative, but why blue trees…

  46. Musthaq says:

    very amazing place
    If we speak about the holiday destination of India initially Kashmir vale comes in our mind which has limitless pleasurable destination .

  47. How strange but a very captivating way to raise awareness. This is great to stumble across

  48. It’s so strange… yet it looks so mysterious! It’s AMAZING! Must’ve been awesome to be able to see trees like that! 😀

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