Friday, May 30, 2008

Rochester's Best Public Art Installation

About a mile from my studio is an amazing place where the owners of these buildings have given graffiti artists permission to paint the nights away (or at least that's when I imagine these underground artists hit the streets). If you come to Rochester and want to see it, drive down South Goodman Street to the Village Gate complex and drive way to the back of it, park and walk down toward the railroad tracks. AMAZING.

I never even knew about this place until last week and it's so amazingly close to me that it's practically in my backyard. Today I decided to take my camera with me and check it out. I expected to see one building at most...never did I imagine that I would find building after building covered with painted marks! You'll notice the sign in the picture above that warns people not to paint beyond the arrow -- and of course the whole rest of the building has graffiti painted on it. Not a school of artists that takes such warnings too seriously, I suspect.

You can see all types of calligraphic marks on these walls, including the typical four letter and in-your-face words --as well as layer upon layer of names, initials and undecipherable (by me) calligraphic language marks. It's easy to tell that there are serious professionals...and amateurs... in the graffiti biz.

What I enjoy most about these surfaces -- and definitely will return there again to photograph -- is how interestingly the various artists' marks intersect and compliment each other, how gestural and spontaneous most of the writing is. Some of the paintings seem planned but most seem impulsively scrawled. There's such enthusiasm and excitement in the excessiveness of it all, a totally random but exuberant sprawl. Even the pavement below has started to become a canvas for more.

After walking around shooting a host of reference photos, my friend and I made our way to a sushi lunch and then toured an exhibit of American Impressionist paintings from the Phillips collection at the Memorial Art Gallery. Must say that the day provided a pretty diverse array of visual stimulation and some ideas for my sketchbook based on the types of letter forms I saw.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, thanks for sharing, I am going to pass the link to my son who is a graffiti artist, always great to see what is going on in other parts of the world