Saturday, October 22, 2011

on the red alley

on the red alley
wall, white face painted over
Virginia Creeper vines

I can imagine this piece of alley graffiti hanging in a museum, as some sort of social or political statement entitled "Making a Face." Graffiti is often found in alleyways or other out-of-the-way places because graffiti is generally considered vandalism and the street artist usually prefers a place that is out of sight to lessen the risk of getting caught. The word graffiti comes from the Greek graphikos, "belonging to painting or drawing," and the urge to paint or draw on a blank surface is as old as mankind. From prehistoric cave paintings and pictographs, to ancient carvings on Roman and Egyptian monuments, to modern spray paint graffiti on boxcars and in New York subways, humans express themselves, with many styles and messages.

On a boarded up window in the same alley,this spray-painted graffiti appears to be an example of a "tag," a stylized artist's signature, the ultimate self-expression that proclaims, "I've been here and left my mark."

And here's an iconic, Picasso-esque happy face in gold paint that simply makes me smile.

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