Monday, August 16, 2010

Grafitti archive interview

Graffiti art behind the Asylum's main graffiti wall, Portland ME. April 2007.

Portland is well-known by locals as a haven for graffiti art, which generates both controversy and support in the community. Aubin Thomas has begun recording some of this transient and ephemeral art on her photoblog,, where she posts photos of past and current work, and encourages others to submit their own photos via email. The Portland Daily Sun did a great article about the subject this past weekend:
Street SmART

In some ways, Aubin Thomas simply runs a simple art history blog. Just don’t expect oil paints and canvas — spray paint and cement walls are more the focus here.

Thomas documents street art around Portland, and combines her interest in art with her passion for preservation at

But the site is also part of a local trend of providing a transition zone of sorts, a place somewhere between often-illegal street art and gallery openings. And while the debate over street art – especially illegal graffiti – continues, there’s little doubt that the work is steadily edging onto Portland’s cultural consciousness, with two movies screenings, several gallery shows and even an college art exhibit of a famous street artist happening just this month.

“I have a big issue with things being forgotten,” explained Thomas, a one-time Maine College of Art student and current tour guide at the Victoria Mansion. “And even though it’s not my art, I want there to be a record of it.”

Thomas said she had long noticed street art while traipsing across the city, but came up with the idea for the blog after helping to deconstruct the installation by New York graffiti artist Swoon at SPACE Gallery last winter.

“It made me really sad, because she made all these hand-drawn wheatpaste pieces, and we had to scrape them off with a paint scraper,” she said.

For Thomas, the blog is also a way to get people to think about graffiti in a new way by decontextualizing the work. “If it’s in a gallery, some people will accept anything, but if it’s on the street, they instantly hate it,” she explained.

The term “street art” encompasses a broad range of art forms, from spray-can-applied graffiti tags to stencil, stickers, wheatpastes, knits and some perfectly legal, often promotional, posters. Generally, “street art” is used to describe any work developed in a public space.

There are also a few less generous terms that can be applied to the practice.

Read the full article here: [Source]

Photo by Michelle Souliere.

No comments: