Reub's journey

02 September 2010

Friday My Town Shoot-Out: Graffiti

The idea of the My Town Shoot Out is to post photos of your community every Friday, and hopefully improve your photography skills. This week's assignment was chosen by Ginger, from Brazil.

This summer I spent two weeks in Italy. I took a few pictures of street art there, mindful of the fact that "graffiti" comes from the Italian word graffiato, meaning "scratched," and has been around since the days of Pompeii. The Italian graffiti was a contrast to what I found last week in Corvallis:

In Italy there were occasional political comments. Metal garage doors were a target.

Another Italian garage door.

Any big wall was a likely spot for graffiti; this one was in Rome. I didn't see any graffiti scrawled on ancient artworks there, but any place else seemed to be vulnerable to taggers.

Florence, the mecca for Renaissance masterpieces, has a well-regarded art school. In front of it was an exhibit of graffiti, proving that there is acceptance of this as a modern day art form.

So, what about my own community, here in Corvallis Oregon?

As you can see from the clean wall of this building, located on a busy downtown street, we don't have very dedicated taggers here. In Italy this wall would likely be covered.

There is a walkway that goes beneath a bridge though, and here you might see a few things, almost always drawn in chalk. (Our taggers play it safe; nobody gets in trouble by drawing in chalk!) I do really like the painted stencils, like the little one in the upper left here.

See? It's cool, an improvement on the ugly concrete wall.

More chalk scribbles.

And another cool stencil, which I didn't understand until after I stood back...

...and looked at it from a distance. It's part of a profile of a face.

Do you see the graffiti on this? It's kind of subtle.

Green paint has been rather carefully dripped beneath the arched sides of the concrete trash can.

There are two high schools in town, and they both have huge rocks on which students are encouraged to paint whatever they want, a sanctioned place to do this controversial art work, and a way to prevent vandalism in other public places. Looks like the class of 1990 paid a visit!

The teenagers around here don't leave very political messages, do they?


  1. You can find lots of empty clean walls without being the target of vandalism here because of our strict law.

  2. I loved the one one you said improved the ugly gray wall and the very one was cute. they were all good

  3. punks signing their names is really annoying and ugly, but I do sometimes like graffiti that's really worked one and colorful. It's not all bad, and it's a great idea to set aside a place where it's permitted.

  4. This was a really cool collection. I love the blank wall with only the shadow of a telephone pole -- "Graffiti by the sun.!

  5. Ha! I love meat? Quite the message to leave behind (and in puff paint no less). I really like the pictures from the art school in Florence. What a creative way to display something that is so commonly seen as a bother. The chalk "graffiti" was really cute, too :)

  6. I enjoyed all your photo. I really loved the photo in Florence with the painted pyramids.

  7. What a great collection. This was a lighthearted graffiti post. If only everyone would use chalk to leave their mark. I like the one in the upper left hand corner too. Very detailed and interesting.

  8. Wow..interesting the skellie guy/ your perspective too!!!

  9. Interesting collection! Who knew I could read Italian!

  10. That post was so well presented I almost forgot it was about graffiti. Well done, indded!!

  11. I particularly liked Herne the Hunter. Or is it?
    Very interesting examples of graffiti

  12. Friko, thank god somebody helped me put a finger on that image: Herne. It must be related to this mythical character, more widely known in England than here in the US. The laughing skull & hour glass made me think it was an image of Death, but I suppose this is embodied by Herne also.

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