© 2009 kc! Bradshaw Layers of Citrus with Scribbles

Layers of Citrus with Scribbles

I often used to ride Caltrain from San Jose to Redwood City. It was a wonderfully peaceful way to start and end the long workday (as well as a great way to plow through a ton of books!) But what I enjoyed most about the trip was the scenerey whipping past. The tracks are built right along the backbone of the San Francisco peninsula—El Camino Real—and as such, run right through some very interesting real estate. The train clearly does not discriminate—chugging through some of the richest cities around.

Needless to say, there are a lot of backs of buildings… and a lot of graffiti. Almost every week, the murals change. Big, small, artistic or gang-related, the battle between property owners and artists wages on. What’s left is an Urban Quilt—patchworks of large squares wallpapering the architecture. While intended to remove the rogue artwork, buildings never quite look like they did before. They almost seem to have a new dimension added to them.

I imagined what would happen if one of the artists infiltrated the graffiti task forces… like a covert, paint-spy. Using rollers to remove their own work from the night before—all the while embedding secret messages in the large, flat, new colors. Perhaps choosing slightly off-color replacement paint and patterning up the backsides of buildings with a morse code of espionage.

This snapshot is taken in that spirit. I came across a group of task force members tooling down the road by my old house, painting out tags. The only trouble was, in this particularly colorful neighborhood, they seemed to be doing more damage than good. Painting out green houses with bright yellow, and white houses with pink. So the end result was that same patchwork quilt of roller-marks.

Serves as a keen reminder to ensure that the solutions we devise aren’t actually creating more problems. And that no matter what we do, art will prevail!