I’ve walked past this mural for years, and they re-do it every so often. The primary change from visit to visit is the color palette, but over time, major compositional elements change as well. I’m showing the previous version (circa 2013) and now both in black and white just to keep the comparison visually fair.
The bird’s head on the right is a mosaic, originally including mirror fragments, now painted. I think the fisheye treatment in the first image works well because the mural already has a bit of a fisheye perspective to begin with.
Another sign of change and transformation is the ebb and flow of graffiti. My latest find was this:
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.
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.
Some street art I found in Toronto. There’s a point where graffiti transcends defacement of property and really does become art in itself.
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).
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).
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.
The Pompidou Centre is a massive modern art and culture facility in central Paris, on the western edge of the Marais district. Its architectural claim to fame is that it was designed with all its systems (heating, cooling, plumbing, visitor circulation, etc) exposed on the outside of the building, a sort of deconstruction of the notion of architecture. This, in addition to being an interesting concept, gives it another claim to fame: being perhaps the single ugliest piece of modern civic architecture known to man. And in a world where Brutalist architecture exists, this is no mean feat. What this does do positively, however, is provide a venue in which urban street art has a genuine, appropriate, sanctioned environment in which to exist. The wild vibrant gestural organic nature of street art contrasts with the highly composed, almost abstract structure of the ventilation and exhaust pipes and the security fencing around their access points.
Street art has even been allowed to take over the stuccoed side of an existing 18th century building in what appears to be an homage to Salvador Dali.
Of course this doesn’t entirely stop unsanctioned street art or even just flat-out graffiti of a very pedestrian variety from cropping up around it. Graffiti aside, I thought this little house squeezed in between the gothic church and the later townhouse was fascinating – I could actually see setting up a small studio on the ground floor and living in the room above it.