Urban Scrawl

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I stumbled across Barry McGee and Josh Lazcano’s commissioned piece of graffiti on the corner of Houston Street and Bowery (left picture) perhaps in late October and immediately snapped a shot of the eye-catching site. What looks like a fascinating jumble of tags is actually a sort of “the ultimate graffiti writer’s roll call.”

Then, just this morning, I happened upon Niels Shoe Meulman of Calligraffiti‘s collaboration with Mercedes-Benz and Pink Ribbon. Meulman was asked to “customize a white Mercedes B-Class with hundreds of women’s names. These names symbolize all the Dutch women for whom the Pink Ribbon foundation works tirelessly.” (watch a video of the process here)

I find these two (that I’ve seen so far) instances of jumbled word graffiti bearing others names an interesting coincidence. Perhaps additionally more so, now that I think about it, that both are in shades of red and pink, evoking colors of a rose, and thereby maybe, possibly hinting somehow at the eternal question, posed by Shakespeare:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

In our computer-age where things are so frequently typed, does seeing your name in a hand-created form hold a certain type of potency? Does it make you more real? Especially when it’s someone else who’s writing it. If someone else is calling you out, writing you down, you can be sure you exist. Can’t you?

Maybe I’m just making up stories.

But. There are certainly a whole lot more wordy, declarative, questioning types of graffiti tumbled about lately. Like these two:

Interesting, isn’t it?

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