Monday, October 27, 2008

There's not a lot to say about this one that isn't immediately obvious. I like the way that the girl is laughing, either to herself or someone else, and the way that she's slightly out of focus. The black ceiling and white walls clearly draw your eye to the blueish windows at the back, but she has so much pull in her character and demeanor that it's all balanced. The drink with the straw in the front is kind of like the icing on the cake. It's a kind of secondary (actually third) focus point that balances everything, gives it all a little bit of energy - and with it's being alcohol, it ties it all together!
I thought that the color of the Obama poster worked really well with the colors of these houses. And in a way it almost looks like someone looking out of the house. It doesn't look quite like a poster... there's just a little bit of a double take needed. And I think the balance of the shot works well. I have another one at a different house that has a more of green/grey feel to it, matching the opposite side of the poster.

What I liked about this image was that I see a connection between the houses which seem middle class or even poor, and the image of Barack Obama. On another note, the poster says "HOPE", yet the photo has a very somber kind of feel to it. It's not sunny, and in fact, it almost looks like it's about to rain.

However, that is entirely imagined! These are actually very expensive town homes right off of South Street in Philadelphia, and, it was a sunny day.

Printed Graffiti

I find the interconnectivity between printed graffiti and photography really interesting.

Clearly it was an artist, or even a group of artists, that put these images on the side of this dumpster. And it was an actual graffiti "artist" who put the initial "tag" on before that. Then I've taken a photo of it, selecting a piece of the whole (creating a design layout), and put it out to a greater market than just those people that would see it passing by on the street.

In a way, the initial work was kind of like performance art. Or at least street art; or public art. But by capturing it, I've kind of altered that. It no longer has specific time or place. It no longer has the smell of a dumpster or decaying fish associated with it in some way. And it no longer changes visually as the sun crosses the sky. It's just 1/60 of a second of what it was.

I wonder how it would be perceived if I went one night and actually cut the panel out of the side of the dumpster... ? How would that look hanging on a gallery wall? Or in someone's hallway. Or bathroom. How would the taking of the actual piece of steel change everything? (Besides theft!?) And what if I filmed myself doing that? How would that change the concept of this image as art? Art that wasn't even mine in the first place?

I pretty much know why the initial graffiti artist does his thing, and to me that's really kind of just a waste of time and paint. Not that there aren't a lot of really talented graffiti artists out there (there are!), but I just find text-only "tagging" a little boring. (Perhaps someone's writing their PhD paper on graffiti text right now!?).

I'm more interested in why the artists that put up the paper scraps did it. And I think the answer is simply that that's what they do. As artists it doesn't really matter where their work is seen / shown. Or maybe they don't feel the work is good enough... they're just little drawings and by making them bigger and putting them out there they're becoming more important. I'd totally agree to a certain extent as size and presentation are certainly commanding factors in any piece. Or maybe these artists don't like the gallery system. Or maybe they can't get in. Or maybe they just want to share the work. Or maybe they see it as a stepping stone. Or maybe it's just fun. I don't have an answer. I only have questions. But I would hope that anyone who sees my photographs of these works would ask the same kinds of questions.