I Want to be a Beautiful Loser

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Ok. So. Last time I posted I was asking if YOU were out there. If you were reading.

That was mid-year 2012 and we’re in 2013. So, actually, I have to prove that I’M still here. I haven’t posted in a veryyyyy long time but I hope don’t think that’s because I grew out of my love for street art and decided to stop writing. Preposterous. It’s actually the opposite – I started writing SO much more, started meeting a lot of artists and snapped enough photos that I had to purchase a new SD card with more memory capacity.

So why haven’t I been sharing any of this with you?? Mmm I don’t have an answer besides the semi-pathetic but still-true excuse that there’s not enough time in the day. But it’s better late than never right?

I’m not trying to brag and say I’m a seasoned writer and street art expert but I am SO grateful to have met a lot of really great people and stumbled across many pieces in the span of 2012. It’s ridiculous how I moved from writing a few occasional art show reviews for a school paper to branching out into other outlets in the publishing world and discovering more art. Any weekend I’m not at a gallery opening, I feel strange.

I could post plenty of photos from gallery shows – which I will, I promise – but a certain set of photos puts my point across better I think. As I photographed and wrote about more and more shows, I always kept in the back of my mind where I’m from and why street art first called to me.

If you drive near my place of residence you see plenty of trash. You see broken sidewalks. You hear sirens. This isn’t a sappy, pity-me scene. It’s reality. That’s where I’m from and I’m grateful to have grown up in a less-than-aesthetically-beautiful neighborhood that shaped me to be a loving person and a tough woman at the same time.

But when you walk on those cracked streets you can also find art when you look more closely. Yes, sometimes I encounter art pieces when I’m driving, not just aimlessly wandering, but the fact that I found art pieces in the middle of a neighborhood where you can’t find a gallery for miles is something that fueled my love for street art.

I was working on a project for a photography class and a friend suggested we visit an alleyway where he discovered art.

There, we took the photos I needed and then just wandered around the alley. It wasn’t a pretty sight, believe me – a pair of broken heels, a dirty Q-tip, a torn bed – but the art showed someone’s genuine efforts for creativity.

I recently watched the movie “Beautiful Losers” which follows well-known, successful artists like Shepard Fairey and Barry McGee and how they started. Basically, friends got together and started a small gallery in NY which was one big party. But they all stressed the idea of a need to create – a very human, automatic instinct to just MAKE something.

The movie got me itching to create and I wondered how that idea changed from NY to here in California and in a neighborhood with residents that perhaps can’t spend tons of money on art supplies or even known of a gallery to visit. I felt frustrated at the idea that in my neighborhood I couldn’t name one person that made art; I don’t remember it seeing hanging on the walls of  my babysitter’s house or even a family member’s place. I remembered that not until I went to private high school was art something that truly mattered. Even then, I didn’t feel the need to create – I learned to be careful where I walked, to work hard so I could make my parents proud and one day move my mom out of her house in a dangerous city. I didn’t learn to want to create; I didn’t learn to value and love art.

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Ultimately, I found art in the streets. It was there to make me learn to love and praise art and the process of creating. It was there to inspire me to make little pieces of art in my room, to walk into Blick with no clue about spray paint and pick random cans in weird colors.

I owe a lot to street art. Though I’ve met well-known artists and told them my love for their work it’s the nameless figures who created the art around my streets that I want to say thank you to the most. “Beautiful Losers” made me want to create and it reminded me that while the gallery holds art, the streets hold the people that inspire me to create freely, openly and without worrying about impressing anyone. Just creating.

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2 responses to “I Want to be a Beautiful Loser

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