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…