There’s a lot of terrible graffiti out there. Here I am trying to make a case that at least some graffiti really is art and deserves recognition but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that most of it just seems to undermine that case by being something hastily scribbled without any kind of thought. I could spend a lot of time talking about challenging aesthetics and intellectualizing the social and philosophical ramifications of even the simplest tag but on a gut level most of it just makes me say, “Really? Why’d you even bother?”
And then I see something that just takes my breath away. And sometimes it’s something I probably would have missed if I hadn’t been looking for it. Two partial gold skeletons embrace on a wall. It looks partially stenciled and partially painted. Someone put some serious thought and work into this. Who? And why?
The work is eerily reminiscent of the Hiroshima Lovers from Alan Moore’s Watchmen, although the figures are incomplete and the use of color instead of just black is striking. As is the pose. They could be embracing or they could be dancing the tango.
What’s also striking is the placement. The artist put this work right in the middle a window that’s long since been covered up. The outline of the window is still there and provides a kind of frame.
I don’t know if the BP above the figures is the artist’s signature, although that seems kind of coarse for such a thoughtful work and one with such thoughtful placement. It’s also in an alley behind a building.
You can see some other graffiti there. It’s a very popular area and just doing a casual count I found at least a dozen more distinct tags, some by artists I recognize from other part of town, although mostly on the other side of the building. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic but I like to think the lovers haven’t been covered up out of respect for such an amazing piece of work.
I admire the graffiti you create on the walls of each post, Chris. Many thanks.
I had never thought of my posts as graffiti but that’s a wonderful thought. Thank you for that.
That is rather stunning. I wasn’t sure I was even seeing it correctly until I read your description. Nicely done, anonymous street artist.
In retrospect I wonder if I should have taken the picture late in the afternoon when it would be in the shade, but I’ve learned you have to get graffiti when you see it. Otherwise it could be gone. It might have shown up better without sun glaring down directly on it though.
Yes, very lovely, I agree. At first I couldn’t figure out what I was seeing until I enlarged the photo on my screen. The artist doesn’t even know that his (or) her work is being enjoyed online by complete strangers. And
Maybe it’s just me but I can’t help but think that kissing as a skeleton would be awkward. Like, like your teeth would crack and scrape against each other. I guess everyone would crack when rubbed together. (Note– keeping things classy by making no mention of “boning”– you’re welcome).
One of these days I hope an artist responsible for a work like this–something really good that’s being appreciated here–will stumble on it and be really glad. And it would be nice to finally get to hear what they were thinking when they made it.
And thank you for resisting the temptation to share this.
Of course my macabre mind imagines that the graffiti was left there by supernatural means to indicate that two young lovers were walled up together in the building while still alive. I have an over-active imagination.
And it sounds like you read a lot of Edgar Allan Poe. Or the story of Heloïse and Abelard. I should have thought of that when writing about this. Or Britain’s Borley Rectory where there’s a legend of a priest and nun who fell in love and were punished by being walled up alive together. Heck, isn’t that the end of “Aida” where the lovers are entombed alive?
Yeah, I think I’ll stick with Poe. Much less depressing.
Yeah that really is a pretty striking piece of graffiti/artwork. When I see these kinds of artistic pieces, I so hope that person knows their talent and their worth.
I hope so too and I worry that in a case like this the artist is defacing someone else’s property because he or she doesn’t have enough confidence to submit their work to a gallery or more traditional art space. If anything good comes from me highlighting graffiti it’ll be that some really talented artists will get a confidence boost.