Story Behind the Sparkling Brooklyn Watertower


We got in touch with Tom Fruin, the talented artist behind that beautiful watertower currently up in Brooklyn, to ask him some questions about the stunning public project. Read that brief Q&A below.

Why do you choose to work with scavenged, reclaimed, and recycled materials?
I initially began working with discarded drugbags because they were plentiful in my neighborhood (LES 15 years ago) and seemed to tell a story. Also, they were free. It is much easier to take chances and make work from common materials that surround you. I also find that materials with a history have a richer meaning, giving the work more complicated associations.

How big is Watertower?
The tank is 10 feet in diameter; with the steel platform base, the dimensions are 25x10x10 feet.

How long did this take to construct?
I have been thinking about this piece for some time. We decided to have the steel laser cut to speed up the process (rather than welding each individual upright and crossing piece for each panel), but we did the rolling and welding in my studio. The entire sculpture took 3 months from start to installation with the help of two people.

What do you hope others get out of it?
I wanted to “add to” and celebrate the skyline. The piece strives to make a new landmark out of a common sight; make one reconsider something that they thought was commonplace.

What can one expect at night? Can you tell us more about the night show?
From dusk to dawn every night, the tower will be lit from within. The lights are programmed to change, making a show. There are several “movements” and cycles that will be discernible from a distance. At the top of every hour, there is a unique moment, culminating in a special midnight sequence.

Tom Fruin's website

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