In case no one has noticed, and I'm sure everybody has, there seems to be a trend/movement/explosion in creativity at a pavement level.
I've just had an email exchange with Tom Wegener, with part of its thrust being the amount of work done for love or exploration. In his case, and mine, it is the surfing world, be it making alaia's, making surfing movies, or doing this... writing.
To survive though, Tom has the joy of falling back on his finned boards to supplement the historic explorations. I do mean historic in both senses of the word, too. As Tom studies history he is making it, the past informing the present, creating an unlikely, surprising, future.
For me, advertising work is it, though that avenue seems as dry as a witch's tit.. if you'll excuse my french.
Paying the bills is an issue that won't go away.
Still we persist, I get more joy out of this blog than I ever did out of my career industry. The friends I've made, real or imagined, have more to give, with very dear exceptions. As I found out on my trip this time last year to the US, when you get there the people are real, they're not just one's and zero's but delightful flesh and blood.
All trying to do something beyond the grind, beyond their little patch, or in spite of it.
And so to those who do something within their patch, but under cover of darkness.
A few months back I went on a photo jaunt through the lanes of Melbourne, looking at the graffiti, trying to get my head round the whole thing. Having watched it in a cursory way since the early seventies when the wall scrawlings of choice were either political or sexual, the explosion today I find fascinating, infuriating and beautiful, all at the same time.
The infuriating is the indiscriminate, rubbish tagger, notably when it's on my front fence, which in principle is vandalism... and when I lose all the skin of one hand using the graffiti remover without gloves.
But then you see one tag wittily put up, and the wry smile surfaces, despite myself.
The fascinating and beautiful part, though, is a personal thing, and time needs to be taken to see it. It helps to take shots and make your own assessments later. I did, and today, months after taking the shots, I had a look and saw things I'd missed before. There's an archaeology of graffiti emerging as over the years the tags, paste ups and pieces of artist's past become icons, as long as some new kid on the block with no knowledge of what has gone before doesn't tag over the top of a bit of brilliance.
These are some shots from a couple of the lanes of Melbourne. I kind of love this stuff, and every time you go back you find something new. An evolving social phenomenon that is going to have to be accommodated as it will not go away, clearly, despite the fact that the powers that be have now, here, decided to make it a lockup offense to be found carrying.. 'the tools of trade'.