Odds and Ends-A day in Wondrous Waste
Spending your day in an alley doesn’t sound too enticing but when one receives a phone call from a friend with an invite to come shoot some amazing artists paint a legal wall, one does not pass up that opportunity. This alley is located between some factories in South Central off of 23rd and Central. It’s an alley full of broken furniture, bath tubs, dirty clothes, bones, delicious foods(not), soiled mattresses and walls covered with vibrant art. It was impossible to take a clean step. Anywhere you turned there was something there you didn’t want to step on. Due to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s budgeting and drastic cut backs on funding to keep Los Angeles alleys clean, a lot of alleys seem to be turning into oceans full of trash. Most of the stuff that is dumped isn’t anything that one can get much use out of. Even with signs posted promising a hefty fine for dumping, it doesn’t manage to deter people away from dumping their trash. Though the alley I was in seemed grotesque, it was still very beautiful. I couldn’t help but notice all the raw bright colors and shades of trash that still popped around the alley. Even all the rust on the walls and poles looked amazing. Of course all the beautiful rust made the perfect backdrop for some sweet tags. I walked around and introduced myself to every person there and I was sort of bewildered when I realized how many distinguished artists I was meeting.
It was amazing to see such a diverse group of artists all together painting the same wall. The alley was filled with an abundance of different styles for all eyes to feast upon. Everyone that was there painting seemed to be having a good time. Cold beers were passed around along with herbal refreshments, music to move to and something to tag on in every direction you turned. It felt like we were in some sort of graffiti playground. Throughout the entire day, many people stopped by to admire the artwork being created in their neighborhood. Even some of the men and women who reside in and around the alley were really feeling and loving the fresh artwork. Sometimes when you think about going to museums it gets a little stale and expensive…now before you judge me and think I have no idea what I’m saying, one cannot deny the fact that some people can’t always afford to go to museums. Sometimes the only artwork one will see is going to be on a moving van, the side of a liquor store or on the random walls and alleys one will walk through. The great thing about graffiti is that it is a constant changing art form, every day and night something new is done in the local city near you, you just gotta be fast enough to catch it. Some pieces will run for years, other pieces just have the life span of a few days before getting buffed.
Graffiti artists and street artists provide such a vital service to the cities around them. They provide free art to the world with their resources, and risk their personal freedom. The streets are their galleries and everyone can view it. Graffiti and street art require no guest lists, r.s.v.p’s, dress codes or exclusive invites. Graffiti and street art can be so powerful. It can be funny, entertaining and stimulating in more ways then one. As I hung out in that alley, I realized how much I loved being there. Despite all the trash and the fact that my shoes probably needed to be burned, it was a gift to see all the art work I had seen created in front of me and to see the reactions of people who saw it as well and felt just as I did. If I had the ability to paint graffiti, I would be right there painting with my friends, but for now I’m happy with just sitting back and taking pictures while I watch these modern Picassos create their beautiful works of art around the cities until my shutter takes it’s last click.