Street Art, Graffiti & Urban Decay:
Photos from the Cutting Room Floor
Each weekend, my deaf dog Edison and I hunt the South Florida streets for street art, graffiti & urban decay. Pushing our way through the throngs of tourists bused into Wynwood, Miami from the cruise ships and other places, we make our way from the main drag to the quiet blocks, the ones with technicolor, chaotic gems of street art, graffiti & urban decay those tourists will never see.
We cut through alleys, small fields and parking lots left unlocked. We hike along the train tracks or maybe the interstate. We crawl through gaps in fences or slide past unhinged rolling gates into open air factories, long ago abandoned, now transformed into museums of urban decay.
Along the way, I take lots of photos of graffiti, street art and urban decay. And I mean LOTS of photos!
Street art and graffiti comes in all forms- spray, acrylic, wheat paste and multimedia among others. There are no rules when it comes to street art- and it is this very freedom that awakens the rebellious fourteen year old boy in me.
When clicking my camera, I don’t play favorites- though my eye is definitely drawn to bright colors. Most of the photographs I share on social media include Edison because, well, he’s the boss of this thing called The Graffiti Dog. The problem is- he doesn’t always fit with the art.
Perhaps the mural is too high up on a wall.
Or maybe it’s a small hand-scrawled political missive that would be overpowered by a big deaf dog.
Or maybe it’s a quick commentary on social injustice carved in a bathroom stall.
If it’s a wheatpaste way high up on a street sign? Well, I just can’t get Edison that far off the ground.
And if I have to scale a 10-foot fence to get to the mural- that just ain’t happening with a 92-pound dog strapped to my back.
And sometimes, Edison just distracts from some fantastic art that doesn’t need a deaf dog accessory.
Once I discovered street art, I was hooked- though “discover” probably isn’t the right word, for modern street art has been around for decades. Perhaps, what I mean to say is, once I began to pay attention to street art.
As I learned about the socio-economic and political context from which it arose, the social commentary or irreverent humor it frequently screams, the diversity of creative forms and just how much an artist pours of her or himself into each piece, my passion was sparked.
In addition to being a huge source of inspiration for me personally, street art and graffiti have been creative supernovas for me as a writer, a blogger and would-be, definitely amateur photographer. The photos I flick, especially those incorporating Edison, have given me a new voice and have become a huge part of my online identity.
Graffiti & Urban Decay
Each day, I share a photo on Instagram, probably my favorite social media platform. My Instagram has become a photo diary of sorts, documenting the weekend hours spent discovering street art, graffiti and urban decay, the kind that sucker-punches the wind out of you or maybe just makes you giggle. Instagram has become my go-to place, and where I spend most of my time when I’m glued to my phone.
But as I said, I take LOTS of photos, and my catalog is growing with each weekly outing. I have so many photos to sift through, trying to choose just the right one feels like Sophie’s Choice some days.
Unfortunately, more photos than not end up on the cutting room floor, the artist’s work never seen by my audience, and this makes me sad.
Which leads me to this blog post. I’m taking action.
I’ve decided to share some of my favorite, never-shared photos from the last month. Will this be a regular series? Who knows? I’d like it to be so long as there is an interest in it from you, my audience.
Speaking of which, I want to thank YOU for reading this and the other posts I write and for following along as Edison and I crawl the streets with a camera, a pack of smokes and poop bags. It means more than my words can convey and I hope you’ll keep coming around.
Oh, and while I have you, if you aren’t following Edison on Instagram, I encourage you to hit the “follow” button here.