Graffiti・energy of a city/ poetry of an unknown people (1)

SOHO is now lined with those fancy brand shops. But as I walk toward Canal Street that divides SOHO and Chinatown, the scenery turns into the views of old warehouses.

Those buildings of SOHO with loft spaces held by an old cast iron columns still function as warehouses, supply storages, and small factories. We can see the loading and unloading of those supplies on the stone paved sidewalks.

Even though there are many spaces renovated for expensive apartments, the true face of such warehouse area has not changed dramatically. Those artists who actively participated in art scene from SOHO area might have received the energy from this jumble and haste. (Canal Street has a large art supply store called "Parl Paint," and the loft space of this store filled with various art supply illustrates the cluttered atmospher of those days)

The art hung in a clean, white space of SOHO gallery began to loose such energy of the streets, reflecting the daily lives of ordinally people. Gradually the artists began to feel isolated and ironic to the art scene in SOHO. Onto the walls of SOHO buildings covered with fancy materials and clean-flat paint, or the left over space hidden between the buildings, not just the artists but many people banged their frustrated energy as graffiti.


Even though they have been beaten by the wind and rain, teared and weared, small but bold message is painted over to be accumulated. Some has a really strong message, and it unites and gives the power to other graffiti around it.


A poster by WK INTERACT that I recently learned its name. There is the poster in the picture above this. His graffiti art suddenly appears in an open space of New York, but unfortunately such open spaces gradually disappeare as new buildings build up. His works also get destroyed or hid beneath the new surface, but that itself sounds very New York like with a positive cycle of a birth and rebirth.

The Republican convention was held in New York this year. (2004) Since Republican is weak in New York city, they used 9/11 incident to cut into New York supporters. Around the time of this convention, I found many posters and graffiti on a city wall and street. New poster covered up even if they were removed. Even the remains of the posters become a message.

By the way, the mascot character of Republican is an elephant. The original of this poster seems to be the Pieta by Michelangelo. The dead body of Christ is held in the arms of Maria, but here Maria is replaced by the statue of liberty. In addition, the shadow inside of the lying person looks like an elephant, the mascot of Republican. Right next to this poster, there was also a poster showing a funnel smoke coming from Brooklyn power plant turns into an aggressive elephant, with a short message beneath the poster possibly by the artist himself.

Those graffiti and posters are sank in the rain, without being noticed by anyone. The quiet voice of the city in this untouched scenery--it is one of my favorite view of New York.



こんばんは。世界の中心はNYのlunaです。TBありがとうございます。ks530さんは、WK INTERACTの名前を知らなかったという事ですが、知らないけど彼の絵は見ていたという事ですか?そうならすっごい羨ましいですね、、ks530さんの言うとおり、消えゆく場所があり、それこそがNYらしいのかもしれないとわかりつつ、寂しいです。心打たれるものですから。だけど、やっぱりそうやって繰り返していく事でNYと言う街ができてるんだなとも思ってます。とても心にくる文章でした!

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