Hey, all! Yesterday I walked through the Shoreditch area of London and took in some street art. (Many thanks to K., who recommended it to me.) The best graffiti is beautiful and powerful, evocative and provocative. It’s, you know, art.
Graffiti can dispense insight. It can offer alternate ways of looking at reality. Often found in gritty urban settings, it proclaims to the world that feeling and thought and ingenuity exist everywhere humans exist (which is sometimes, sadly, contrary to popular belief!).
Here’s a sampling of what I saw yesterday in Shoreditch. Yes, I was that tourist taking photos of the street art. Well, so be it: a tourist is what I am, ain’t it?
Brilliant commentary here on living among other human beings.
In the panels below the main message are these words (which are hard to see in this photo):
TO / SPEAK SPEAK SPEAK / the truth / FEARLESSLY—
Great message. Perhaps this has meaning not just in isolation, which is cool enough, but also in combination with the message above it. Perhaps it means that we should not shy away from openly telling people when we adore them; and also we should not shy away from expressing ourselves when people encroach upon our (physical or metaphorical) space. Also, the words “adore” and “endure” both seem to imply that when we speak the truth fearlessly, we should do it with respect. I can be on board with that message!
But zoom out on these lovely messages, and we have a new message that blatantly urges us to spend money. This crude message is all the more crude in juxtaposition with the beautiful sentiments nearby. It’s a reminder of all the forces in our world that try to push us away from what’s really important (i.e., adoring and enduring each other by speaking truth fearlessly).
How about this commentary on American politics?
Peek though the gap in these iron bars and take in a surreal commentary on writing. Who’s really behind the words you read? Which side of the bars are you really on?
Cheers & wish you were here,