Friday, June 7, 2013

Graffiti -What is it? What is it saying?

Indigenous travelers in pre-European Hawaii walked long distances.  Shady resting locations along the routes show evidence of early day graffiti...generally human figures or geometrical patterns scratched into the weathered basalt.

Man with ore

Two figures

Australian aborigine people left their mark ...Fill your mouth with paint hand on rocky wall and blow a spray of paint to leave the mark of your hand. 

Two "spray paint" hands
People wrote graffiti on  early Roman walls!  There were uncovered by archeologists at Pompeii.

Pompeii graffiti 

Pompeii graffiti
During the years of the Second World War, US troops left the message that "Kilroy Was here". That Kilroy must have travelled the world!
Kilroy was Here - little variation - same all over the world
Sociologists say that living in an anonymous world many people feel the need to make it known that they existed and that they mattered.  Graffiti says "I was here".  

Fence in Niles CA

Graffiti was revolutionized with the advent of the spray paint can... Tagging was now possible...the rapid placement of "my mark of identity" quickly and easily in many locations. Some graffiti is just in the "I was here" category - and some shows a bit of artistic expression :

Stylized lettering
Add it this the use of graffiti for gang purposes ... it became possible for gangs to mark their territories and to offer challenges to neighboring gangs. If one gang Member, in the dead of night, sprays a gang sign in the space of a Neighboring gang...the second gang must defend its whatever way necessary to reassert territorial boundaries.

Dead End Niles Gang

Sereno graffiti gang-mark

When last we visited Oaxaca I was interested to see that a the wall statement were much more representational than I have seen elsewhere.  This wasn't 30-second tags ... But sensitive faces with real Personalities.  Much of the graffiti there is intended for political statements, some describes the lives of people...

Oaxaca street graffiti

Oaxaca Street graffiti

Oaxaca Street Graffiti 
This brings to mind the issue of the line between Graffiti and murals.  There clearly is no sharp division ... But there is a whole spectrum from  garbage graffiti to  fine art.  My favorite murals are those tell the story of a people.
Oakland Ca

In the mission district of San Francisco there are marvelous murals that tell the stories of  immigrants
to America.   No place else is the story told in the same way.

Leaving home to come North.

There are WPA Murals that remind us of life during the depression...they are visual and emotional.

Unemployment during the 1930's

Towns and organizations are coming to realize the importance of stating their identify through message and history.

Alameda California

Union City CA


Topic 2 : My dogs understand what matters.   

What is important is to eat everything in sight, get at least one good walk a day (preferably) in a location with other dogs to greet and sniff in social greeting, squirrels are good too.
"Its time for a walk!"
Getting fed it the highlight of the day! The Germans have a special word to describe the way dogs eat, You and I "Essen", but dogs "freshen" their food.  I suppose eating all your food as quickly as possible has great survival valve when you eating a fallen antelope with a pack of hungry friends...and our nice little house dog has just kept this pattern of behavior.  Oh and another aspect of a dog life... Sleep a lot -no point in wasting energy.  Play fighting is also good training for when called on to do the real thing.
The social world of dogs
Dogs are very sensitive to cues... when they see me put on my shoes in the morning it sometimes means that a walk is imminent.  Dogs are good observers and quickly recognize a pattern. If you repeat something three times they learn that its likely... if you repeat it every day for a week we it is law and it must happen.
    My wife Judy does volunteer home visits once a week – and in one home is a dog that waits for Judy every Friday at 10 AM.   Learn. If I’m working in my office past 7 PM, Willy comes to get me – herding me like a sheep back to the family room. John is not out front in the family room...
Play fighting - lots of sound but no fury
 While laughing about our dog’s response patterns, I noticing how often I responds to cues too. Judy and I take turns bike riding or walking with the pups – I usually go mid morning if I’m not committed, When I return the first thing I think about is grabbing a snack (hungry or not).

Graffiti on side of water district Building

Volunteers painting wall art on Water District Buildings