Ghetto Art

JESSE was talking about the word “ghetto” this week. He made a really good point (Don’t tell ERNIE). He said that ratchet and ghetto don’t have to mean something bad. There are a few examples of what people would consider “Ghetto” areas that have very beautiful pieces of art. Sure, every once in a while you see someone’s name or gang spelled out, and of course there are those pictures of Mary and MLK to prevent anyone from tagging on that wall, but sometimes there is real beauty on the streets. There are places in downtown that show vivid images of people’s struggle. There are places in Chavez Ravine that show the hardship of the people who lived there and had their land taken away. Even the occasional Virgin Mary can be done in a beautiful, glorious, respectful way. These are ghetto areas filled with people holding their nose to the grind stone trying their hardest to make enough money to eat. Yet, this mural brings so much happiness and life to the community.

Some of this art is very well respected. I know of a few places that are off limits to taggers because the people who “run” that neighborhood see the beauty and respect the talent and time it took to make a masterpiece. When you have people who take pictures and put it online or even in a museum it’s not the same. Even having a whole section of wall taken out and put on display under a bright light in a quiet room with wood floors does’t give the right tone to the piece you are seeing. A while back Ernie took me to a museum and he showed me that when people decide to put paintings up they don’t just put them wherever. They make sure the frame is correct, the light, the wall color, even the pieces displayed around it are all part of a plan. They are all brought together to make sure that the right mood is set. You are in the right state of mind to see it. But if you are looking at a piece of art that was drawn on the side of a mom & pop liquor store, then when you have it in a museum with white walls and no sound, you are not experiencing it the same.You can’t replicate the people’s voices on the street, the smell of the bacon wrapped hot dogs that are grilling near by and the police helicopter overhead. You need to be in that space, in that moment, in that ghetto, to truly appreciate the art.

Zebra With Clean Stripes

Ghetto Hipster Owl