Saturday, September 26, 2009

Graffiti in downtown Vancouver (part 2)

It seems that, as Vancouver prepares for the 2010 Olympics in February, there is a concerted effort to clean up the downtown area. Every week we hear of both rumours and concrete plans for 'looking after' the homeless in our city, some of whom are locals and some immigrants from other, colder parts of Canada.

I was surprised, however, to see how difficult it is becoming to find graffiti in Vancouver. Some alleys have allowed spray paint artists freedom to depict things of their choice in what we might call the International Style. There is also ample evidence of taggers (graffitists who only paint their practiced and uniform 'signatures') here and there, particularly on telephone poles, which apparently are not the responsibility of the store owners. But more often than not, there are many neat newly-painted squares on walls and doors, squares whose paint which is similar in colour but does really blend in perfectly with the rest. Each of these thousands of squares covers graffiti, testifying to the industry and determination of store owners and civic-minded citizens to stamp out graffiti. Consequently, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find interesting graffiti to photograph.

But happily, Jesse and I managed to find some today. Under his tutelage, I have become interested primarily in sites which have layers of paint, either tag upon tag, or spray paint art by domesticated graffitists partially covered by the more spontaneous strokes of a hurried tagger working late at night. Today, I was particularly interested in taking closeup shots showing drops of paint superimposed on other paint.

I will begin with a doorway which faces an alley in the downtown east side. This exhibits both the squares of paint attempting to cover graffiti and, since the store owners did not act sufficiently promptly, there is also new graffiti, especially tagging. Thereafter, these pictures will usually include closeups of layered graffiti and some rather neatly-fashioned tags on bricks (a new interest of mine). Except for the initial shot, each photograph was taken with the 100mm macro lens, using a tripod. For additional photographs, please see my initial posting on Graffiti in downtown Vancouver.