Monday, November 29, 2010

Chicagoing: Graffiti Wall Art

Living in an urban area, we get to see all kinds of 'art' just by going on our daily walks.It's almost like going to an outdoor gallery as new things are popping up all the time.
When most people think of graffiti, they think of vandalism and gang tagging:
The gangs will write all kinds of cryptic messages to eachother staking out their claim to show they're in the area; it's kind of like how our dogs pee in certain spots. Some of our students, involved in this type of activity, actually tag at school, so I've even learned to decipher some of the 'code':
Given all this "conversation", it's actually illegal to buy or own spray paint within Chicago city limits. We also have the graffiti blasters who will promptly remove this kind of writing.
At the same time, we also have graffiti crews which are still illegal, but view graffiti as an art form. They go out and tag, and even get some really high up or unexpected places:
It's fun to have things pop up in unexpected, 'ugly' areas. Like this random octopus in the middle of an alley:
Or a random zombie. Miss M should look over her shoulder:
But beyond all the illegal activity, many people do recognize graffiti as an art form and they've created 'permission walls' where people can legally create street art to liven up the neighborhood.
 And graffiti has also become a marketing strategy. Back when I worked in advertising, we had a whole graffiti campaign to advertise gum to a teen audience. It works because you don't realize it's advertising. Here is some kind of alcohol advertising:
Our area still has some old vintage ads on the sides of buildings, so you can tell it's not such a new idea:
And of course, some Blackhawk pride:

19 comments:

Two Crazy Coaches said...

I am always in awe of the legal form of graffiti. I can't imagine having that kind of talen. But since I can't draw a straight line, I probably shouldn't tag any buildings! Hope you all had a great long weekend!

jen said...

What a sight! Some graffiti is so beautiful.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving:)

jen said...

I'm a huge fan of graffiti. It seems even cooler when some pitties are sitting in front of it :)

Fiona, as typed by Dr. Liz said...

Amazing stuff! Graffiti here consists of someone sticking a sticker on a ski lift tower. Nowhere near as inventive!

*kissey face*
-Fiona and Abby (who have only ever seen lift towers in summer...)

houndstooth said...

I'm just lucky I can paint a piece of plywood with a spray can, much less create some kind of artwork with it! The people who can create works of art with spray paint always amaze me!

rescuedinsanity.com said...

Some graffiti is truly art. I think it's amazing what others are able to create with nothing but paint and their imagination. It's not a talent I will ever have.


There are some murals like this in my city and then some that are just plain graffiti. :-P

Benny and Lily said...

Mom calls all this graffiti, gangs and tagging job security, what ever that means. Some of these kids are so talented. To bad they don't put their talent on paper. Thanks for showing us those pictures friends
Benny & Lily

loveandaleash said...

Oh,I love that vintage graffiti! Obviously impossible, but I want to cover my whole house in it!
We have some great stuff along the above-ground metro lines here in DC, including a huge mural/shrine to Michael Jackson, and a neat advertisement for the Capital Area Food Bank on its own warehouse wall . . .

aleksandra
follow our foster: loveandaleash.wordpress.com

road-dog-tales said...

Cool graffiti! Chicago is more like Charleston than we would have thought. We have some places around here that 'allow' graffiti, too. Also, lots of 'illegal' graffiti. And we have the old advertising on buildings. Mom is always amazed at the graffiti that is high up - she's kinda afraid of unenclosed heights. Fun post! Thanks for sharing your city.

The Road Dogs

Kitty+Coco said...

We are huge fans of vintage advertising. Not so much on the colorful word graffiti. The zombie was pretty impressive.
There should be a pitty mural!

susan said...

Love that zombie (for some reason). Also your analogy re: gang tags being like dogs peeing all over the place is perfect.

Kari in WeHo said...

we just love the true graffiti artwork all over LA

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com/

Ettel, Charlie Poodle, and Emma Pitty said...

In NYC (actually quite close to where I live) there's an old warehouse called 5 pointz that's a 100% legal graffiti zone. [http://www.psfk.com/2009/02/legal-graffiti-at-5-pointz.html] One of the overhead trains passes it by and it's really something to see. Every few weeks or so there's something new up.

Tucker said...

Great stuff! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Mr. Pip said...

Some of the underpasses going under Lake Shore Drive have some great stuff. Hyde Park is also has some great work.

Though in general I have to say, NYC has much cooler graffiti art than Chicago. Not sure why?

dw said...

Some of the graffiti is pretty neat, isn't it? I've seen some in places where I have no clue how someone got there to do it! Btw, gotta love the "Go Hawks" graffiti! We don't get a lot of championships here, so we gotta celebrate them in many ways when we do get one! :)

Roo said...

That does make for an interesting walk. Some of that graffiti is pretty awesome :) Here we have the ugly tagging which usually gets blasted off and then we have wall murals vs. legal graffiti walls. The Mote Aquarium even has a wall mural from Robert Wyland. Mom actually got to see him touching it up a few months ago. Talk about an artist!

Amazing how within just a few blocks of your home you have so many different things to see and do. I always enjoy going on your walks with you :)

Waggin at ya,
Roo

parlance said...

I'm not found of tagging, but in general I like artistic graffitti.

Oferal Rever said...

We've long been inspired by urban art and have finally created a collection that pays homage to this secret addiction of ours!

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