Findings: Street Art and Graffiti Stickers
Abierto los Ojos - open your eyes. As I wander and wind my way from my house in South Philly on my two mile commute to work, I often find things that I had not seen on the previous day. Specifically, I find Urban Street Art. A lot of it. Sometimes if I'm not fast and diligent enough to photo document my finds, the art and stickers are gone. I've been documenting most of my findings for several years now, and have been aware of this underground art scene for more than a decade.
Lately I've become more interested in the artists. My Flickr sight has gotten a nice following of contacts - as I've joined a few Street Art Sticker groups. I don't know any of these gifted artists personally, nor do I know the whys and hows of their craft. So far, I've met one person, completely by accident, late at night on an empty main drag in Philly. It was an exciting meeting for me, akin to finding one of Invader's mosaics, or another one of WTF's woodblock pieces, which I've found two new street pole placements - at 13th and Spruce and at Broad and Lombard.
The artist I met, AB (not his real name) was posting his Judas Priest stickers while walking to his next destination. I had only just found his sticker art two days earlier, and was intrigued by its detail and subject matter. I am fascinated by the whole under-ground art scene but can't figure out how to meet up with any of the makers. I think the trick is, you have to be out late at night since what these artists are doing is, technically, defacing public property. As I happened to be on my way home from a late night at work, I saw someone putting something up on a street pole. I doubled back, took a look and sure enough, it was one of these stickers. So I asked the guy, is this your art? We chatted for a few minutes, me, a bit awestruck by the fact that there are indeed, real live people, purposely putting these crafts around the City. Art is in the eye of the beholder, or documenter, as my case may be...
Street poles, utility sign posts, backs of Loading Zone Notices, trees, bike racks and newspaper honor boxes are all typical venues for these urban artists. Next time you walk to the bus stop, take a look up, down or all around you. Your next find might be more interesting if you view it in the context of a Street Artist's Canvas, a sweater or cozy, stitched to a tree or bicycle rack. We have a serial knitter on our hands around Walnut to Spruce Street, 18th to 16th Streets.