Public Art

Taking a photograph today is a simple as clicking a button and aiming in the general direction of your intended victim. We click away the world around us compounding years worth of memories into 1 gig of space on a hard drive. Bedtime stories have been replaced by photo albums, or the ever elusive photo slide show. Technology makes the world smaller everyday, archiving the past, predicting the future and tucking the present away in our 30 gigs of space on our iPhone.

For years now, I have been obsessed with a certain picture which had significant importance in my artistic representation of the world around me. The memories and meanings behind this single image changed the way I looked at photography, sculpture and art.

So, one day I was biking up Highway 1 documenting everything as I went by….wait…why am I explaining this…here I’ll show you (see picture above). Anyways, I found this tag on a wall of an abandoned house, and slyly laughed at the irony of the tag being ‘public art’. Having studied ‘public art’ as a major at a university, having been to so many ‘public art’ galleries, having made business cards with ‘public artist’ as my title, I was astounded by the irony that nothing I had learned meant anything to the ‘public.’ As Marcel Duchamp so elegantly put it, place the world on a pedestal and you have made art. This one day entirely blurred the line between art and life, turning every urinal on its side and making it a fountain, turning every gallery upside down into storage space for culture. Just as musicians must realize the hard truth about the ‘it’s who you know’ music world, so must artists address this issue in the art scene. Beyond this epiphany, all of my current and future art was put into question and my ego was deflated. I assumed the role of being nothing more than human, for after all artist is a title one must selfishly designate to oneself.

As you can see this one day, this one image, this one tag sums up a lesson that I will take with me for a lifetime to come. On the flipside, who knows what that tag, that image, and that day meant to the artist that put it up? A picture really is worth a thousand memories.



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