PHOTO GALLERY: The Walls are Talking
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012 10:09
Some days when I’ve got free time I grab my camera and wander the streets of Durham looking for something to shoot.
For the past few years two graffiti-covered walls near Central Park School for Children have caught my attention.
I’ve even used them as a backdrop for photo shoots with recording artists and models.
Not long ago I happened upon two artists while they were doing a “piece” on the wall.
“Piece” is short for “masterpiece” — a work that may incorporate 3-D effects with many colors and color transitions. It was an event worth documenting.
In the lingo of graffiti artists, “pieces” are contrasted with “tags,” the more prevalent type of graffiti.
Tags are quickly scribbled signatures of a person’s name that appear on street signs, walls, blue mailboxes, abandoned buildings, or anywhere else that will accommodate spray paint or markers.
Tags don’t require as much time or effort. One can of paint or a marker is all that’s needed.
But a piece requires multiple cans, colors, and of course a lot of time.
Graffiti artists have their own rebellious subculture, and they often work undercover and illegally.
Some graffiti artists even believe that if you paint commercially you have removed yourself from rebellious graffiti culture altogether.
Interestingly, the two artists I stumbled upon weren’t willing to comment or to have their faces photographed, even though they did say they had permission to make their piece at this location.
Due to the elusive nature of the art, my rare chance to document the event was an experience I will remember for a long time.