There’s a particular spot near Elliston Place where I’ve collected quite a bit of graffiti. It’s so popular with artists in fact that in the picture above, pulled from Google Maps, you can see some graffiti. In fact the extremely astute may recognize this piece in the lower right hand corner from a previous post:
I’m not sure why the area is so popular. It’s also a spot with quite a bit of history. Right across the street from the picture above is the famous Exit/In where almost everybody who’s anybody in music has played and it’s even been a spot for some other performers. An older friend tells the story of the night he was walking down Elliston and met a huge crowd of people being led out of Exit/In by a man dressed in a white suit. The man was Steve Martin, and it might have been the night he took the entire audience to McDonald’s, but that’s another story.
Pictured above, though, is another music venue, The End, but what really interests me is the courtyard next to it and behind Obie’s Pizza. The walls are covered with regularly changing murals. Here’s a picture of a recent design:
It looks a lot like graffiti, doesn’t it? The colors may be brighter and the designs more elaborate but it still has a distinctly graffiti style. Now here’s another view:
The ATM sign–which to me also looks like it’s copying a hip graffiti-style look–is on the bars that separate the courtyard from the alley, keeping out the riffraff. I contacted The End to ask who did their murals. I didn’t get an answer, but what matters is I’ve still drawn this conclusion: in an area with lots of graffiti the owners wanted something that looked like graffiti that isn’t actually graffiti.
It’s easy to think of graffiti as something bad, as defacing private or public property, but what does it say when people intentionally copy–and even pay for–something that looks like graffiti?
Here’s a bit of “real” graffiti from behind The End. I don’t see that much difference.
Seen any graffiti? Email your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org. All pictures will be credited to you unless you’d rather remain anonymous. I’m easy like that.