I’m still enjoying pouring over my photographs from days gone by. When I took my frequent walks around Manhattan during my 20+ years of living there, I was always on the lookout for the unusual. In New York City, that was not hard to find.
Today’s watercolor experiment:
I was always on the lookout for interesting handwritten signs, ready-made collages on plywood barriers to construction sites and of course, graffiti. In and of itself, graffiti is a visual expression of the spray-painter’s state of mind. Is a photograph of graffiti the same as a photograph of framed artwork in a museum? Aside from the fact that some would debate whether graffiti is art, the question remains: Is a photograph of graffiti akin to appropriated art? Is the photograph the art or is it the original graffiti? I think, because the photographer makes decisions regarding what to include in the shot, the framing of the mural and other factors, the photograph is the art object. In practical terms, it is difficult to attribute graffiti to a particular artist, unless it is a Keith Haring or other well known artist.
In my watercolor below, I did not engage with any of the issues above. I snapped the original photograph, which I used for reference, because of an odd juxtaposition.
Did the students from the New York Studio School perpetrate the graffiti adorning the entrance to its hallowed halls? Was it extra credit? Was it a disgruntled student, or just a run-of-the-mill graffiti-ist who found a canvas to his/her liking? Is this a study in irony? It depends on one’s view of graffiti.