Writing on the Wall

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Day 11 of 365 . . . prompt word: writing on the wall

There is something I love about graffiti . . .

What causes one to pick up a can of spray paint? Freedom of expression? A desire to be recognized for something? A way to show the world your talent?

I am fascinated every time I drive past a train riddled with spray painted art. Don’t get me wrong. There is some pretty stupid artwork out there. But there are some real masterpieces. I always wonder about the graffiti I’ve seen that is elaborate in detail . . . rich in colour. How was the artist able to have that much time to create the work?

I live near a railway in a small town and the train passes through several times a day. It provides many opportunities to view moving slideshows of artwork. I have several pieces I’ve seen that I would love to see again. My eyes are constantly glued to every train I see. Sometimes I have my camera with me . . . sometimes I don’t. It’s those times my camera hasn’t been by my side when I see fabulous artwork . . . and it makes me cringe to know I may never see that piece again. So I study it intently as the train speeds past hoping I’ll recall every detail later.

Two works stand out in my mind. The first was a human eye painted in a very realistic style. What amazed me was the size. It wasn’t something small like 5′ x 5′. It took up the whole side of the train car. The iris was carefully positioned on the widest “bump” protruding from the side. It was very three-dimensional and was nothing short of amazing! The second was an image of three crosses on Calvary the day Christ was crucified. It was also painted in a realistic manner. The depth of the painting drew the eye in across the hills to rest on the three crosses in the distance. Tremendous work!

The next time you see graffiti posted somewhere, take time to pause and really appreciate the artwork someone has left for you to see. I’m not talking about the random “Adam C. sucks d***!” That is just crass. No, I’m talking about the works of art full of colour and passion. The pieces someone was bold enough to paint for the world to see. How long did it take them to paint it? Do they come up with the ideas on paper first? Why do they risk the chance of being charged by the police if they are caught? Have they always been so bold . . . ?

Tonight I snuck out to capture my latest favourite piece. The Christmas Crusher! I used the fish-eye lens for Olloclip for this one. I wanted to capture the whole piece — plus, I knew the fish-eye lens would give the image a cool feel. There were no vehicles parked at the grain condo so I snuck around to the side of the train facing the highway and walked through the tall shrubs and weeds (my pants were covered in burrs). But it was worth it!

What graffiti have you seen that has been memorable?

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