Friday, March 23, 2007

Art or Vandalism?

Something many of you may not know about me is that I love what I call "street art." Some people call it graffiti, some vandalism, but I've been taking pictures of it for years. I don't tend to collect the stuff you see sprayed on railroad cars or retaining walls, that tag territory or proclaim the name of the graffiti artist. I like the more idiosyncratic ones that I find in small doorways or that are stenciled on the sidewalk, that catch you by surprise when you're not looking.

Rarely are these works signed or marked with anything that would identify the artist, so I'm left to wonder who they are from the types of images they choose to leave. And often the images don't last long, since they get painted over or worn off from weather or traffic. There was one artist in particular whose images I'd seen around the area and who had a penchant for painting large birds on the sides of buildings or walls. They had a poetic sense of line and proportion and were very eloquent, especially considering they were six to eight feet high.

I have no idea if the artist is male or female, black or Asian, young or old. Just that their art is marvelous to find, a surprise that I catch out of the corner of my eye as I'm going from place to place. And, if I'm lucky, I'll think to get out my camera and preserve these ephemeral expressions of someone's art.

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