Mary Phipps-Seward '74 Online Alumni Exhibition 2011
From furtively sprayed 'tags' to elaborately planned and executed murals, graffiti speaks out in a way that all art does. I fell in love with this raucous form of communication in 2005 while living in Richmond, CA. On my way to work one day, I passed a large metal barrier that stood a good distance away in a marsh. Pitted and rusted, the wall displayed the weathered remains of some very interesting artwork. Time had taken its toll on the lines and colors and the artist likely had grown to adulthood. But the message still rang loud and clear to passers-by, "LOOK! I EXIST. I AM HERE." On my next day off, I returned to the marsh, negotiated the barbed wire fence, hopped a slough and waded through what seemed like miles of sludge to photograph the remarkable "billboard". I was smitten!
Now, we all know that graffiti is generally (and, in some ways, justifiably) despised in our society. Sadly for me, a widespread neutral-colored retaliation has made my "love object" increasingly difficult to find. Nonetheless, I am forever on the look-out. The images here displayed are my reward for searching. In some pieces, such as So Sorry, the message is obvious. Others require a bit more imagination. The images bespeak a basic need of every artist and perhaps every human being - the need to say, "LOOK! I EXIST. I AM HERE."