The Faces I See--Belfast, Northern Ireland
My love of graffiti started a little over a year ago when I visited an area of Brooklyn which was run-down and industrial. There were few shop fronts and in the dingy industrial sized windows above, I could see brushes, paints, and canvases leaning against the glass. Because of the landscape, the whole neighborhood consisted of flat concrete or stucco walls, many of which were now spray painted brightly. The artwork was what one would think of when you'd think of 'typical' graffiti--colorful, distorted letters--but what struck me was how it seemed that the artists were courteous of each other's work. It seemed almost as if each artist had been commissioned to do a particular square of wall and no one tagged over another's work. This may be the case, that they were somehow 'commissioned', but from this point, graffiti transformed into an art form for me. As I travel, I am drawn to the graffiti of cities. Much of the work within the confines of these urban areas is mural-esque displaying a variety of interesting or historical content, and tagging is less commonplace. Or, rather it may just be that my perception of graffiti has changed and it's this new light I see. I no longer need to visit the local art institutes (though I still do) because the city itself is thriving with masterpieces, one just has to explore a little.