I’ve always been envious of bloggers that can step outside their front door with their digital cameras and take a picture of some fantastic graffiti art on the side of a building, or green art constructed out of shrubs on walkways, and publish them for the world to see. It seems like these bloggers always live in art progressive cities like New York or Los Angeles, and here I am in a city full of artists and have yet to stumble upon something visually creative that catches the eye out on the street. Sometimes I think to myself; maybe I’m just looking in the wrong part of the city? Maybe I’m not looking hard enough? Or maybe I just need to take a road trip like I did last week to Washington, D.C. in order to find it? So I was walking with my head down in the drizzling rain through Southwest D.C., maneuvering about puddles and loosely operating an umbrella in my hand when, voilà! I saw this wonderful mural on the back of a brick building and thought; this is my chance to capture something unique.
It’s funny how inspiration can just creep up on you when you least suspect it; spontaneity being its most fundamental element. I pushed against the wet, stinging downpour and made my way over to the vacant lot where the painting was. I backed up into the weed infested field having to over exaggerate my steps to clear the saturated, high grass all the way to where eventually I had my back pressed against a rusty fence. I took out my disposable camera (Yes disposable…I’ve yet to purchase a digital camera) and snapped a couple of photos. Exactly just what the artist is trying to say in this mural is not all that clear to me. Yet that’s the engaging nature of art; that it’s subjective and open for interpretation. However, the themes of innocence, metamorphosis, pain and rebirth all seem to be evident. When I see what looks like to be blood on those hands engulfing a butterfly, I think of the sacrifice it often takes to evolve, whether from childhood to adulthood (from crawling to walking to even “flying”), or to possess something of true value, which is never easily attained.
I passed an alley on my way to take pictures of the first mural I saw and noticed that there were two more painted on brick walls, so I circled back around to take shots of them too. I love the colors this artist uses; lots of cool aqua and blues which are my favorite colors! This scene is almost other worldly with its imaginative beings that look like they could be from outer space.
And this one evokes strength, cultural pride, resistance and intensity. I had fun looking at the soft, damp, lifeless leaves gathered at the bottom of the artwork on the sidewalk providing a striking contrast to the more virile, hardened, sharp images on the wall.
I think it’s beautiful when someone can take a side of a building and create a visually captivating world full of vibrant, thought-provoking, and meaningful imagery. Our neighborhoods and cities are so full of billboards and advertisements that the constant marketing ploys of corporate businesses can often overwhelm our spirits. There’s nothing inspirational about another 1-800 number to dial or opening up a checking account in a bank. I don’t need another huge sign with an airbrushed, half naked woman and her suggestive pouty, glossed lips to remind me where the nearest adult video store is because I’ve been to them all already. Before we erect another massive structure with a picture of a hamburger or a cigarette on it, how about we commission a graffiti artist to paint something a little more inspiring; something that challenges us to dream to aspire to be more than what we ever thought we could be and do more than what we thought we would ever do. Isn’t that what America is supposed to be all about?