Tag Archives: public art

Out + About: Murals, Tagging, Graffiti, Mosaics

When we lived in Chicago, one of my biggest gripes was the lack of public art. Much of it is relegated to Millenium and Grant Parks and Michigan Avenue, conservatively doled out to mainstream consumers and tourist explorers. The city’s buttoned-up demeanor goes hand in hand with the obliteration of spray paint within city limits by the Daley administration years ago. In 1992, Chicago City Council passed to ban the selling of the graffiti artists’ medium, waging a hefty war from artists and Federal Court Judge Marvin E. Aspen, who deemed it unconstitutional. They subsequently lost when it was fully enforced starting in 1995 under allowance by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. To this day, you still can’t buy spray paint within city limits but a few promising murals have popped up over the last couple years.

A mural endorsing Wicker Park, one block from where we used to live

Approved tagging at Milwaukee and Evergreen Aves.

Don’t get me wrong. There is art in Chicago, it’s just not as spontaneous as one might think for a city its size. I like to visit Philadelphia for many reasons but one of my favorite past times is walking along South Street and seeing what new pieces have popped up. It’s a vibrant art scene which started in the 1960s by a group of artists that moved into the area, but most notably Isaiah Zagar who started the movement of creating mosaics on every surface.

Philadelphia, South Street Corridor

Philly just has a flavor that’s all its own. Every year close to a hundred murals are created as part of the Mural Arts Program. Very impressive for a city its size, or any size, for that matter.

Riotsound Graffiti

Fine Art America

Murals are ubiquitous in Philly. AnmlHse

Artists: Jason Slowik and Keir Johnston, 2005 Urban Horsemen


For us, it’s nice to just see organic and creative things happening whether it’s graffiti, tagging, wall murals, window painting or an impromptu performance. The other night we met Summer Medel, an artist and muralist,  painting a new spring themed scene for a storefront. We were really happy to see creation happening, especially since it was a pretty damn cold out. That’s heart.

Cool, huh? What’s your favorite piece of public art – painting, sculpture, graffiti or otherwise?


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Keeping up with the Art Trashians.

When there’s too much of anything, it no longer holds it’s value. This applies to things such as food, art and even weddings. Whether religious or not, a marriage is the joining of two people that are truly in love and see themselves with their partner for the rest of their lives. When somebody tells the world they’re getting married and makes a huge deal of it, and then divorces a few weeks later, that tends to hurt the foundation of marriage. Why take it serious anymore?

Art is no different. We live in a world that’s flooded with “art”. I must use quotations because, let’s be honest, not everyone has had the same amount of art experience as others. Cafes, lounges and even restaurants are often crowded with photography, paintings or any other incarnation of “art”, usually supplied by local artists. This is where it becomes vital that these artists realize that even if they make the $150 or $250 they have listed next to their work, they’re doing themselves and every other artist a disservice.

Allowing a business to show your work seems like a win-win situation, but it’s not. Consider that a museum or gallery will show your work at the ideal viewing height, with optimal lighting and bring in crowds of people that are only interested in art. Restaurants and cafes only care about selling their goods and services. And the patrons? Rarely does anyone that enters a T.G.I.Fridays with a hankering for the Caribbean Passion Tossed Salad ever say, “You know, I came to T.G.I.Fridays because they have good prices, but I really want to spend this $250 I have in my wallet on that painting that makes absolutely no sense.” If it does, I owe you a Coke.



Tagged , , , , , ,