Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday My Town Shoot-Out: Graffiti

Friday My Town Shoot Out gives photographers an opportunity to share images from their town and area, following a weekly theme.  This week's theme is Graffiti.  Please visit here to see more interpretations of the theme and a mini trip around the world...These photos are taken in and around Athens, Ohio.

My husband teaches a class each quarter at the university that poses the question, "what is art?".  Graffiti provides good ground for this discussion - when is public painting an artistic mural and when is it graffiti? Is graffiti defined by its illegal status? I guess so...I'm not sure how illegal these samples of graffiti I found are, but I really enjoyed stumbling across them in the woods nearby...
This pirate grinned above the swimming hole we visited...
These remains of an old railroad bridge looked much better as mythical creatures.  This bit of railroad, turned into hiking trail, used to pass by the village of Moonville.  There are house foundations here and there in the forest.  The area is thought to be haunted by some of the former residents.
We didn't spot any ghosts, just this octopus smiling over the creek.
The trail follows through the Moonville tunnel; the hotspot of the hauntings, it is also the psychedelic center of the graffiti apparently...lots and lots of mushrooms.
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This is a big university town; the population of 8,000 swells by 20,000 every fall when the undergrads arrive. There is definitely more graffiti around town, but much of it is centered on a sanctioned "graffiti wall", which daily boasts new information regarding Greek parties or specially-themed weeks on campus - but its official status as a place where graffiti is allowed makes me wonder...is it really graffiti??

 photo by Dan
This is the train car that we walk to along the bikepath. It sits next to a working farm, and occasionally the chickens get loose and run around it.  It also houses some bee hives for a local apiarist.  It seems like this public chunk of metal is the perfect spot for some personal expression...In fact, I didn't find any examples of really obnoxious or obscene graffiti - it all feels rather benign and even friendly. Ah, Athens.

My last image comes from our neighborhood...
...it is still one of my favorite instances of graffiti, and of course it has long since been replaced by a boring old sign that simply orders you to Stop.  I pass by this sign nearly every day, and Journey flows through my mind...

14 comments:

Tiffany said...

That Don't Stop Believin' is absolutely wonderful! I think I want it for my living room! :) Journey has always been my favorite band - I think I will probably be singing it everytime I pass a stop sign now. haha!

daylily (Queenmothermamaw) said...

What a great photo story. Now I can believe that from a college town. I did not find anything in my town and I looked everywhere. But I posted a subject very dear to my heart. Please visit and note. Blessings
QMM

Stephanie said...

oooh, a haunted tunnel!
how cool.
And haunted cottages in the woods!

NanU said...

Fabulous post. It seems that graffiti gets better when it's not completely repressed - that if there's a place it's allowed, the art becomes more mature and complex and beautiful. Much more than the hit & run tagging that everyone hates so much.

Bagman and Butler said...

I think that whether graffiti is trashing or art is in the eye of the beholder. Like the fact that I hate junk mail except when I order something -- then that piece of junk mail magically becomes a useful catalog.

kate said...

I kind of love the "Don't Stop Believin'" sign! I want one of those in my neighborhood :)

SOL said...

I like the stop sign--the "artist" took a traffic sign and turned it into a different kind of sign. I liked that you raised the question of what is art because that definitely crossed my mind with this topic.

In the eye of the beholder said...

The train car is awesome I even liked the dark clouds

Stacy (Mama-Om) said...

Your blog makes me so happy.

~JarieLyn~ said...

I especially like the first photo but the train car is awesome and so is the stop sign. I immediately thought of Journey too, which is also one of my favorite bands.

Kerry said...

You found some good examples; I do like the ones nestled in those dark spaces on bridges and between climbing plants. Cool.

Sarah said...

Oh these are fun..love the mushrooms and the octapus!!

Jama said...

You sure have lots of graffitis in your area!

Pauline said...

Great post. And even some graffiti I can almost appreciate!