Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Mad Painter

I love graffiti.

I spent miles of film taking photos of Graffiti in my teens. A misspent youth, on the lam for art. 

Something about graffiti on trains attracts me the most
I'm here! I'm now! it seems to shout as it speeds by and disappears.
I used to sneak out in high school when nights were too hot to sleep. I'd cover vulgar drawings on cracked plaster with my tag. I had no idea I could have gotten into serious danger. My biggest fear was that a cop would find me and tell my mom.

I was so naive!

I had two cans of paint in my backpack, the ball rattled against the aluminum when I walked, so I kept them wrapped in an old OSU sweatshirt my grandfather had given me and that had become sort of a surrogate security blanket by ninth grade.

I'd put the sweatshirt on inside out, and a ball cap on to do the paint. I was frustrated at the decay happening in the neighborhood, and in my life, and the sea of apathy surrounding both that threatened to drown any real sentiment or connection. I'd describe a black rectangle around the offensive drawing or word, then paint my tag in silver on top of it.

I still use it, the tag I mean.

And I still go out when I get frustrated and feel voiceless against the apathy or, worse, against outright hatred.

Only these days (and for many decades now), I use chalk instead of spray paint

This was at the neighborhood temple after a defacing of a synagogue
And sometimes it shows up just for fun, wherever there is craft paper, just waiting for me.