Many say it was a young man named Cornbread. Others proclaim TAKI 183 or Phase 2 as the father of modern day graffiti. The famous Jean-Michel Basquiat started as the street artist tagged SAMO. For me, however, the infatuation started with Blek le Rat, Shepard Fairey and of course, Banksy.
I love graffiti. I love Banksy so much my daughter, Alex, and I even ripped off one of his pieces for our office at Access. Somehow, I don’t think Banksy would mind. He has made a career out of not respecting the intellectual property of others and mocking the very system that has made him rich. Perhaps most shrewdly in the quirky mockumentary, “Exit Through the Gift Shop.”
I understand why some dislike the illegal aspect. Hey, if someone tagged my car or office without permission, I am sure I may complain — depends upon how good they are. And yet, seeing the work they create fires the imagination with thoughts of these street warriors doing their work in the shadows.
Today, guys like David Choe are far from outlaws. As Mark Zuckerberg builds larger and larger offices, he dismantles and brings along the Choe art that he commissioned for the first Facebook headquarters that has evolved into a symbol of the social media giant. And Choe’s decision to take stock in Facebook, as opposed to payment, made him silly rich.
I often take a longer route to work and back home along Shenandoah Avenue, simply for the opportunity to observe a new and often truly moving show, nearly every day on the trains along the tracks.
Below is just a sample of the art, courtesy of the amazing Amy Pearman, taken one random day with me downtown. I encourage you to slow down and soak in all of the art in the region. Be sure not to overlook the moving show that passes through our valley or yours every day.