One of the things that intrigues me about graffiti is that there’s a person behind it. Even the small stuff, the messy scribbles that don’t look like much, was done by someone, a living person with something to say. The problem with the small messy scribbles isn’t so much what they say as how they say it. If you have something to say, I think, put some thought and effort into it. Communication works on multiple levels, even if it’s written communication, which is one reason there’s a longstanding internet joke that we need a special font for sarcasm, but that’s another story.
So anyway UH is a local tagger I’m very familiar with even though I have no idea who the person behind the tag is. The thing is most of the time I only see the small stuff–UH printed on a trash can or an iron railing. UH has always seemed to me kind of unambitious, though, limited to small tags, which is a statement in itself–as though the tag is a placeholder. Some people think it’s impolite but when we say “uh” in conversation it can operate as a way of keeping our brain’s verbal motor going and also as a placeholder, a way of indicating to another person, “Uh, I’ve got something to say, but, uh, I’m trying to find the words!” Even the most eloquent speaker must occasionally struggle for, uh, mouth talky sentence things.
And then I saw this:
It’s a shame they’re already starting to fade. The stark black and white and the marbling, or perhaps “cracks”, give this the look of something sculpted, of letters, the most basic components of words, given solidity and weight. This UH says something.