I am by no means a graffiti artist, the closest thing I have ever gotten to that was slapping up some "Hello my name is” stickers, up in around Asbury Park, and in/around Philly. I do have an photography account, after a year its finally getting some traction, but if I could do a little graffiti, or street art here or there I would be all about that. Heavily considering doing some wheat paste boys in the near future. A brief history on the graffiti art movement: The first drawings on walls appeared in caves thousands of years ago. Think back to your first philosophy class in community college the whole Plato’s cave thing. Later the Ancient Romans, and Greeks wrote their names, and protest poems on buildings. Super rowdy boys! Modern graffiti seems to have appeared in Philadelphia in the early 1960s, and by the late sixties it had reached New York. All that Brooklyn train good good. Graffiti has been closely linked to mid 80s and 90s skate culture and now it’s in most modern art galleries, the evolution of this movement has rapidly progressed needless to say the least.
I am friendly with a few self proclaimed artist, all deck out their social media with their tags, and their friends. It has become a mini microcosm on its own. Most artists choose to remain anonymous, which is perfectly understandable, I myself have several of these “ghost” accounts, my most recent being snapshots of doors in the current town I am residing in. Do graffiti artists get a bad rap? What, what what's that all about? Is there a fine line between tagging and vandalism? In my personal opinion its all fucking art man.
What the hell is it with humans and wanting to write their names on wall, and shit? Aside from cities and most train yards, there is one other place in PA that I am all fucking about when it comes to graffiti art, and if you know me you prob know where I am gonna say….. okay, yeah, it’s Centralia, PA. Let me tell you this shit is fire literally there is a fire underneath the town, and it’s loosely based on the Silent Hill movies and games, which is a plus. Give me all the spookies.
I've been to this abandoned coal mine town more times then I can count. I even spent my birthday there last year…. In fact I am pretty sure I have spent most of my recent birthdays there. It's a pretty dead place, and yet it’s usually pretty busy there is even someone who sells T-shirts and hot dogs during the week. As a safe haven for Jeep enthusiasts, musicians have shot music videos there, this place has been a pretty monumental place for being a 1.5 mile parking lot, that looks like Pinterest and tumblr had a rainbow baby. There is just so many freaking pictures and colors. If you have OCD it’s a fucking nightmare for you. But I really like it. To date there are only 7 residents, two homes, and a municipal building. There is no postal service anymore, and hasn’t been for some time. They need to go all the way to Ashland PA, to get their mail. Yea, no thank you. It is however one of the most surreal places you can find in PA.
Recently with the Covid-19 Virus outbreak, the government all of a sudden decided it would be in everyone's best interest if they began to fill in the Tumblr made famous Graffiti Highway. I, and many others have photographed this highway in every month of the year, in every kind of weather, even in a snow storm. Fuck the god damn government. They ruined like a 7 year long photography project I have been working on. That is 7 years of tags, pictures, social media tags, that's a lot of paint! I am forever butt hurt about this. It’s just a road. Leave the highway alone, it literally goes nowhere. If I can’t go anywhere then neither can my highway.
A few years ago, (I want to say 2017?) I went to the premiere of a recent documentary on The history of Centralia in Pottstown Pa. Super bummed the Yuengling brewery was closed that day but it was still pretty neat. I got to meet the mayor at the time of the height of the mine fires; she is a sweet sassy old lady with a matching pant suit, I loved her immediately. I would even go as far to say that’s pretty progressive having a lady baby mayor back in the 70s. Pretty happening, I was also 99.99% sure I was the only out of towner at that documentary premier that night, because everyone seemed to know everyone. I was happy to see that people can preserve through so much, their town maybe gone but I really felt the love and sense of community that night. It was pretty cool. Dare I say rad.
The recent filling in of the graffiti highway seemed like a huge cop out. It has basically just become an oversaturated concrete canvas filled with memes, pot leafs, Epstein didn’t kill himself, and I am ready to bet my left lady nut there is a plethora of Covid -19 stuff now. That's why they’re covering the highway! I am convinced. It just goes to show you I am going to have to start working on my Centralia tattoo to over compensate. So yea, isolation's been fun, I am dying to travel, and get a tattoo clearly. Until then guys ill see you next Wednesday!