Lately I haven’t had the time to stop and smell the roses. Or, when one lives in the city, it’s more like stop- and- take- in -the -buildings. When beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the urban landscape can be a true pleasure to those of us who really love the city. Having grown up in the land of trees, mountains, and streams, I blame my obsession with modern art on my mother’s decision to stick me in Montessori at an early age, but whatever the reason, I’m just as impressed by D.C.’s graffiti art as I am by the majestic beauty of my native flatirons, most especially when it’s juxtaposed against the traditional, Colonial style of D.C. old-world row houses. The contrast is truly delightful.
It’s also fascinating to see how graffiti art has become an accepted part of urban architecture. No longer seen as defacement or associated purely with gang violence, graffiti is the surprising new wave of modern art made popular by Basquiat. It has grown mainstream right along with other elements of hip-hop, taking its place among rap as an established bit of pop culture. It’s everywhere, used now as decoration by churches and in place of awnings at businesses. Here are just a few of the gems I’ve encountered this week: