Neighborhood Walkabout – Graffiti

Another sign of change and transformation is the ebb and flow of graffiti. My latest find was this:

Any Make or Model (Black is Beautiful)
Any Make or Model (Black is Beautiful)

I loved the serendipitous juxtaposition of the advertisement wording for the cellphone repair shop and the graffiti – “Any Make, Any Model… Black is Beautiful”. There’s truth in accidents. Or maybe it wasn’t an accident.

A generic graffiti tag on a bricked-up window of a house. This is casual art, that has its own accidental grace and beauty despite not having any great aspiration beyond marking territory or gang initiation.

Window, Graffiti, 15thStreet
Window, Graffiti, 15thStreet

Then there’s graffiti that is transformed from simple defacement by virtue of adopting the form and structure of the object upon which it is inscribed, like this manhole cover.

Graffiti-inscribed Manhole Cover
Graffiti-inscribed Manhole Cover

Some street art I found in Toronto. There’s a point where graffiti transcends defacement of property and really does become art in itself.

Graffiti
Graffiti

More graffiti as street art. There is part of this wall that I intentionally cropped out as it makes a statement that I don’t know I’d want to make or pass on (decapitated nude female torso).

Graffiti, Chain Link Fence, Twilight
Graffiti, Chain Link Fence, Twilight

Back to simplicity, this bit speaks to collective identity questions – the figure transforms the Washington DC city flag of three stars over two bars into a humanoid with a hand for a head. Politics, ethnicity, religion, all rolled into a piece of temporary public art (the wall upon which this figure was painted has been gentrified into several very expensive restaurants).

Graffiti, DC Flag Design, 14th Street
Graffiti, DC Flag Design, 14th Street

The camera of record is a Rolleiflex 2.8E, and the films used are FP4+ for b/w and Kodak Ektar 100 and Portra 160 for color.

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