MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

June 27, 2008 :: Art and Destruction

There is an ongoing debate in my neighborhood about graffiti. Some love it. Some hate it. Some think cans of spray paint directly equate to muggings, shootings and break-ins. Some decry any use of goo-gone a soul-slaying act of artistic tyranny. I have a stance, and it lies firmly on the side of the urban artists, but I acknowledge that the whole thing is a very touchy subject. There's a line we walk, inner city, between "good enough" to live there, and "too good" to still be authentic. A blurry crack that shifts and gets shoved side to side as new community members move in and out and bring their views, prejudices, liberties and fears with them. And that forms the basis for what I believe about my particular corner of the world (something that's exemplified in the video above, however metaphorically.)

Real neighborhoods are built in layers. Like the 120-year old bricks buried 3-feet down in my yard, and the ancient kids' toys, 80's crackle-glass, and modern-day topsoil that piles up above. Like whatever's under my little cabin's asbestos siding and lurking beneath the 70s paneling in the living room. We all paint it with ourselves, whatever it is, and then someone else comes and paints it over. And over. And over - until you can only see the bubbly, nubbly seams barely raising the surface. It's ours that way - and theirs, and theirs before them. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

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