Monday, January 3, 2011

J.C. Street Art Past & Present

See there, that’s an image of Gary Coleman, may he rest in peace. Years and years ago, more than five I reckon, a hometown artist tagged the town with this stencil. Coleman was still alive. This is from the what you talking about Willis era. I bet if you could dislodge the base of this traffic sign post you could make some money on eBay with this random piece of our local Banksy. It was back in the day when this kind of thing was relatively new.

But I didn’t notice Gary right off. The odd tattoo like image on the wood caught my eye

This seems to be the latest manifestation of street art around time, which I like to call random art, although that may not be so accurate. This new iteration is not tagging something with paint or a glued on paper, but affixing something to a street sign. I guess it’s far enough removed from vandalism to be given a pass by the authorities. The image echoes primitive art and comic book imagery. It’s vaguely trippy.

Street Art seems to coalesce around a symbol in order to convey its statement. Yet, on this shard of a plaque, the icon is oblique, the meaning deliberately obscure. But I like the color, the white in the gold near the black outline.

Dig the entire scene. The withered paper flier of some nearby resident, faded by the weather, the message faded, long gone. The abandoned shopping cart from the distant store lot, the Use Cross Walk sign—the pedestrian symbols on the sign, the opposite of the painting. These iconic images with deliberate meaning, they’re universal symbols are they not? They’re instantly recognizable no matter where you come from or what language you speak. The random becomes the deliberate, the deliberate the random.

We have Gary to thank for this here in Jersey City don’t we?

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