blank wall


This wall is always changing.  The drab, creme-white is always there but the placas ever-changing. Now, that flux is (temporarily) gone.

Graffiti is one of those things that is pretty divisive in the Eastside.  There are those who see its value for a wide range of reasons:

  • It is art.
  • It is one of the few ways that young people here express themselves.
  • It fosters distaste for the conformity imposed by the mediation of urban space.

Now on the other side is:

  • The sense of blight that it may inspire in a neighborhood.
  • The fact that it infringes on private (& public) space.
  • That it is sometimes correlated with gang activity.

Whether you fall on one side or the other of this divide, we can agree that it has power.  Just as billboards, bus benches, and TV commercials have power.

Recently a wall I am very familiar with has been BLANK for well over a week now.  Although I know most of the graffiti here really is just a way for local gangs to mark their territory, it feels almost eerie that it’s been vacant. I do prefer the sort of art/graffiti that can be found here, but in an odd way this sort of constant visual territorial revisions had me captive. Coming home from work I would wonder who would be next to slash another’s name.

Now the cause of the blank wall, according to a student I spoke to, is that « they all got locked up », referring to the main clica around here.  But a few blocks down the street I saw someone tagging in broad-day light, with drivers-by honking at him, from a rival gang.
And the cycle continues…

9 thoughts on “blank wall

  1. (my spam word was destroy :-)) Learning about the history of muralism and the impact Jose Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera and David Siqueros had during their time and how it ‘s still present today gave me a new way of looking at the whole mural/tagging debate. I’ve just learned to accept it really because you can’t stop it really. If anything it can be funneled and redirected somewhere else, but locking up the main guys in charge isn’t going to help the problem. I also know how you feel when I see a white wall, eerie.

  2. Pasadena Ave & Ave 28 got totally hit up today. I usually don’t pay attention but I couldn’t help noticing.
    It’s weird how you get used to things and don’t notice them until someone points it out. This is how I feel about graffiti, litter and noise. It’s all just part of the ambiance of the neighborhood, I don’t really notice it unless it’s super excessive.

  3. “Whether you fall on one side or the other of this divide, we can agree that it has power. Just as billboards, bus benches, and TV commercials have power”

    I like what you said, that is very true. Anybody know the history about the Clovers? it trips me out because their kind of Irish collab to their gang meaning.

  4. My dog took a shit this morning while we walked. I started to bag his “doodie”, then I realized he was just marking his territory. I left it for the rest of the canine community to observe, sniff, and reflect on.

  5. Thanks Chimichanga 🙂 for the link to the Clovers History, it’s pretty interesting how they kept it alive despite the street not even existing anymore. I wonder if the new generation actually know tier own history? So that hood is near Broadway and the River?

  6. Funny, chimatli, I’ve always paid a lot of attention to graffiti, but not always in a negative way.

    I actually don’t mind it all anymore – I get pissed off at illegal billboards and rampant commercialism sponsored by mega-corporations that drown out the organic look of a neighborhood.

    That’s a topic for another day, I suppose. Thanks for the link to the page on Clover St. – that’s like Clanton 14th St. in East L.A., street’s gone but the name lives on. Shows that you can get rid of some things, but the past can sill cling to what comes afterward.

  7. This isn’t graffiti. It’s gang tagging. That wall, the wall at Juan’s and the wall on Barranca are always under dispute.

  8. The taggin debate changes as you grow older, and become more invested in a community. I’m a property owner now, and while murals I love, taggin I despise. My wish for all taggers is that they someday become homeowners of a corner lot with a nice long block wall…and karma kicks in.

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