Sunday, May 18, 2008

Graffiti places

I few days ago I made some notes about Asheville graffiti. That got me thinking about graffiti I'd snapped the past year in Granada, Spain. Carol and I were there for our 25th anniversary. We did a lot of walking. I was interested not only in the historic architecture but also in the graffiti. I noticed, for instance, that graffiti got on some structures and not on others. It tended to be in public places, on public and commercial walls, not on individual houses or historical landmarks. I did not see graffiti on the Alhambra, for instance.

The graffiti that I see in Asheville tends to be artistic (murals), egoic ("shout outs" for the self) or gang related. The graffiti in Europe was political (more of it, anyway -- there was the other stuff, too), as the example above suggests. I remember when I was 14 years old silk-screening this image of Ché Guevara on T-shirts with the Brown Beret in Chicago and Milwaukee. What about the image invites such repetition? Is the wall above the same "place" as the store front nearly 40 years ago in Chicago? Is it even the same image?

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