Thursday, February 24, 2011

Street Art Now and Then

On the corner of Hill Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena there used to be a Ford dealership.  It was called Pasadena Ford.  When it closed in August 2008 someone carefully painted out the word "Ford" on every sign.  Nothing else, just the one name wherever it appeared.

The lot is empty now.  For a while, students from Pasadena City College could park there cheap.  One day a year it's a prime spot to park huge RVs directly on the Rose Parade route.

Yesterday I noticed a new bit of "street art" on the wall just north of the main lot.  I figured it must be a Banksy since that secretive street artist is getting such a lot of publicity by being nominated for an Oscar.  A little research seems to indicate that this was done by a different anonymous street artist who uses the handle "¢ommon ¢ents".



The image has been printed on some large format printer and attached to the wall with glue.  At the bottom, where the artist signed his "name", the paper is ripped.  Here's a closeup of Lady Liberty's tablet - the same text repeats and repeats until finally it turns to plain old gibberish.

WAR!  DEATH!  CORRUPTION! MONEY!  RAPE!  MURDER!  LIES!  THEFT! VIOLENCE! FASCISM!
I wonder why ¢ommon ¢ents singled out the L.A. Times.  It's not the behind-the-scenes power broker of the General Otis or Chandler family days.  The poor paper is lucky to still be in business.



This art, in my opinion, is not terribly moving.  More interesting is the piece of graffiti which lived in this same spot previously, one actually drawn on the wall by someone.  That one appeared after the dealership closed.  After a while someone painted it out.   Here are pictures which I took on March 19, 2009.

 
A young boy in a Little League uniform is about to catch a small missile in his baseball glove.  We may imagine that the result will not be pleasant for the boy.  The artwork and the anti-war message is more subtle than ¢ommon ¢ents' Statue of Liberty by several orders of magnitude.


In April 2009 there was discussion of this painting at Pasadena Daily Photo.



By clicking the photos, especially the previous one, you will see an enlargement.


The real Banksy has a photo of a Statue of Liberty-themed piece on his website.  Here it is:


If you want, you could read my Oscar rant from last year.   Or you could look at these two Mixed Meters graffiti-related posts: Graffiti Animals of California and Taggers With Spellcheck

Yesterday Pasadena Adjacent had a graffiti-related post.

Street Tags: . . . . . . . . .

2 comments:

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I do recall the fabulous taggers in need of spell check...todays meterism

"Mixed Meters - Thinking Outside the Bachs"...that might make a rather nice Paste-Up

ericnp said...

Have you seen the nominated film, Exit Through the Gift Shop? I'm watching it now, well not right now, I'm 52 minutes into 86 minutes on Netflix instant. I'd be really surprised if it wins Best Documentary. For one it's too deviant for the Academy to accept and for two, it's not very good. My bet is Inside Job for the win.

Anyway, my general comment on street art, it's not just the content, it's also about where the content is placed, it's setting, live. As much thought goes into this as it does for any other process, or it should. It's meaning has as much to do with it's setting as it does design and it's meant to be happened upon, not photographed or otherwise recorded. Final comment, you've got a lot of people out there simply mucking stuff up who aren't artists and have nothing to say.