UPDATED: My loved ones expressed concern about me calling people out by name (they're worried the people in question are going to hunt me down and stab me). I doubt it would happen, it's a small price to pay for a little peace of mind for those I care about.
I consider myself to be someone who enjoys art. Since moving to New York, I've had the opportunity to visit world class art museums on multiple occasions, and it's always enjoyable. Despite failing art class in Junior High, I still appreciate the beauty of a good painting. Of course, there's more to art than just paintings and sculptures. There's music, there's film, there's literature, there's poetry, there's street art, and there's street art by artists who haven't become icons of sorts.
It's street art that brings my fingers to the keyboard today. Actually that's not true. It's really the exact opposite of street art that made me write today. You see, all trying not to condone vandalism aside, I enjoy some good street art. One of my favorite views in all of New York city is from the 7 train heading into Queens. As it turns uptown, you see two things. In the distance, you see the New York City skyline, looking pristine and beautiful as it always does from a distance. You don't see the dirt like you do up close, and the grandeur of the skyscrapers isn't lost due to a lack of perspective. No, the New York that you see from that view is the New York that dreams are made of. In front of that, however, are the backsides of buildings, all covered in spray paint. It's a giant canvas painted by who knows how many artists, and that canvas is a part of the city itself. Those two drastically different sides of the city placed within the same frame is just wonderful. Which is why it drives me nuts when some goon with a can of paint sprays some words on a wall without truly making a mark.
This, as you may have guessed, is something I witnessed just the other day. While waiting for my train in the subway station, I saw a guy looking around nervously and then disappear into a corner. Then I heard the sound of an aerosol can. It was pretty obvious from the beginning that what he was doing was destruction rather than creation, but when he was done I took a peek just to be sure. And of course, all he did was tag the station. And as he got onto a train moments later, all I could do is glare at him and shake my head. That, and be really irritated with him. And the guy filming him, that was annoying too.
So what did I learn from all of this? To tell you the truth, it's tough to say. I already knew that people drive me crazy sometimes and that not all painting is created equal. I also already knew that I'm a lot tougher from across train tracks (hence my ability to give the goon the stink eye instead of looking away). I guess what I learned is that some particular gang, whom I won't mention by name, has no artistic inclinations. What a boring bunch.