i recently took a quick jaunt to asheville nc with my daughter. even though i'm from north carolina, i've never been to asheville. i had to check it out because, quite frankly, i'm getting pretty tired of listening to sooo many friends rave about how fantabulous it is. the food is delectable, the art galleries are numerous, the scenery gorgeous. ok, yeah, all that, but what i was drawn to was... the graffiti!!
below are some of my favs from west asheville and the river arts district. one of the tags is dated 2010. in my mind that is now called "public art", not graffiti, if it's been up there for 4 years! graffiti artists vandalize property, they move stealthily through the night diving behind dumpsters when the cop car headlights get too close. graffiti is illegal, it's reactionary, it challenges authority, it's pissing on your territory, it gets painted over again and again by angry proprietors. right?! not anymore i'd say. well maybe it's still technically illegal, but a lot of the "graffiti" i've seen in the past many years is truly art. no one is painting over this stuff and most of it seems to just up the ante on the coolness factor of a neighborhood.
what i find most enjoyable about graffiti (or used to, before it all became "public art") was the transience of it. coming across something incredible was to really live in the moment, because the next time you took the train or rode your bike down that street, past that one building, what you saw before would be gone. painted over in some bad color match by some pissed off proprietor. but you could conjure up what was there the last time, maybe you could still make out a faint remnant of the past under the new coat of paint. or maybe not. but you revel in knowing you saw something great and maybe if you're lucky, you'll see something equally fantastic around the next corner!