Friday, December 10, 2010

Inspired by Rebellion

I saw this today on my way home from Staten Island, NY. Though defiling property is never recommended, I thought this particular piece of graffiti was rather awesome. I found myself staring at it as I waited for the traffic light to change. From the Elvis-like character to the use of shading and texture to the vibrant color pallet, I was wowed. I've seen graffiti before, as near as the fence outside my apartment building, but usually, it's standard run-of-the-mill scribbling. Someone quickly sprays a messy tag and leaves, without giving much thought. More often than not, they choose either black, white, or dark blue, and their creation is built from single lines of paint. But this one was really quite amazing. I can't even imagine how someone would get away with doing this. It was not only on the front of an abandoned house on a main street, but it must have taken quite some time to complete.

I write about this, though, not because it's interesting to look at, but because I think it could be an interesting tool in a writing classroom. This image makes me want to assign an "interpret this graffiti" assignment. As I look at this piece, I feel an urge to write. It screams self-expression. I wonder what the artist was thinking when s/he painted it. I wonder why the nomiker "Pimp NP," which also looks like "Prime," "Primal," and Primmpl" depending on how you look at it, was chosen. I wonder why s/he chose to use so many colors and textures, sparkles and brick-like images. And what on earth is the significance of the character on the left side? I think asking students to write about graffiti could be a fun way to get creative juices flowing and also to get students started analyzing word art (literature). From my experiences as a sheltered student, I also think it would be fun to get design my own graffiti in class, either via computer or on paper (though painting on buildings would be out of the question), and to tell the story of my own graffiti creation.
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