Monday, May 30, 2011
Downtown Oakland is starting to awaken. New clubs and restaurants are opening. Art Galleries are flourishing. You wouldn't know that on a Sunday morning though. 18th and Telegraph at 9 AM was desolate. The only sign of any life was the Rudy's Can't Fail Diner, still under construction, which will be Oakland's only 24 hr. restaurant.
Even upon arrival, there was no clear plan for the mural. The wall had been designated as a "high blight" location by neighbors and downtown officials who requested that something be done. It was a classic absentee landlord situation. The owner had moved out of the country and had failed to respond to any communications. The wall had been repeatedly vandalized and covered in posters. Adopting the wall with a mural was the only long term solution that people could think of.
Still, as an aerosol writer, there is a slight cognitive dissonance in painting a mural to defeat the "blight" of our movement. We've always resisted the public's instinct to distinguish between "the good graffiti" and the "taggers." Everyone outside the movement feels entitled to be a critic and seemingly cannot respect that we evolved from those same signatures. Its a classic case of hating the root and loving the fruit.
Each of the 3 rollers we brought were dried and crusty in some places, creating and uneven effect when applying paint. Rather than attempt to force perfection, they were pressed and ground into the walls to give the impression of years of battle between the "blight" and the art. Layers were added with spray only to be partly primed over or sprayed out with new spots and "mess" took shape with arrows and designs growing off of partly cover letters and masks, into a new composition. Like Oakland, the growth was mess and sloppy, occasionally haphazard, with one hand not knowing what the other was doing. But finally, the colors, shapes and lines coalesced into a semi-coherent but clearly elaborate mural. Just like Oakland.
Posted by Community Rejuvenation Project at Monday, May 30, 2011