Saturday, March 01, 2008

Civic graffiti popping up all over!

Wow! Tombo has unearthed (almost literally) two sites of fabulous graffiti in our fair city. What I've seen around town is pretty pallid and wimpish compared to the brilliant street art he discovered on the downside of Watson Lake dam and in a big diversion sewer near the Gurley Street Compass bank.

Nothing of that sort in my neighborhood. However, now that it's spring, the utility chaps in chino with their spray cans have been out marking their turf. I think I have the code down pat at this point, thanks to the gas guys who put their colors on this alley the other day.

That yellow just has to define the gas lines, seeing as how it leads right up to a meter.

The COP (City of Prescott) uses three colors. Since the blue (below) is the obvious choice for water mains, the green (above) must be the sewers. As for the white? It usually seems to appear where Something is about to happen to the surface.

Further up this street is a positive rainbow of what I have dubbed civic graffiti.

Here are the older signs from the scene above. Red for electricity, fading orange for ??? Possibly telephone lines or cable; it's definitely a hot color and it appears to say "no TV". The chief differences between sanctioned graffiti and guerrilla street art: 1) spray cans in the hands of utility employees are legit; 2) civic graffiti is worse than pedestrian -- it's dull, dull, dull whereas occasionally talent or at least imagination will shine through in works by the outlaws, and 3) there's a team of volunteers standing by to quickly paint over street art, but apparently there is no concern at all about those red, yellow, blue and green markings, which linger on our streets and sidewalks until they are worn out by traffic or washed away by rain. (Or mowed, when the paint lands on the grass. I've even seen it on cactus.) That's a double standard, in my books.


Anonymous said...

Lots of graffiti in Germany. I'm not a big fan when it's done on private or public property. If the cities would set up a site for street artist to display their skills, it might not be so offensive.

Granny J said...

I'm of two minds about graffiti, steve. I like surprises on my walks; a good piece of graffiti does provide that unexpected bit of color. On the other hand, gang markings, childish profanity and hate symbols do offend me. As for a sanctioned site, this would be a challenge to my inner biker. As you see, I can't win.

Anonymous said...

Between you and tombo, I've learned a lot about civic graffiti over cereal and chai tea this a.m.

I'm going to take a closer look at my city's "markings". LOL
~Anon in av.

Anonymous said...

This one tickles me. I won't ever see those marks the same again.

From now on it'll be, "Looks like the City Boys been taggin' again!"

Good one, Granny!

Oh yeah. I gotta agree with you about sanctioned sites for "street artists." Wouldn't be the same. At all.

Granny J said...

anon av -- I suppose those utility markers are important -- I recall a house that burned down several years ago when the city sent the blade out to scrape the street (it was not paved) and it tore up the gas line. Of course, the city took care of that by first introducing a new layer of dirt, which is then bladed into a temporarily smooth street.

A-deck -- The City Boys do an awful lot of tagging! As for a set aside location, what's painted there is a mural, I'd say. So the definition of mural is "tame graffiti".

meggie said...

When we first came to Oz, we saw very witty graffiti in lots of odd places. Now all we see is ugly scribble, which is meaningless.
The ones who do their version of 'Art' seem to be scarce now.

Granny J said...

meggie -- I don't think I've ever seen witty graffiti, tho I've seen some I'd call artistic or at least colorful. I'm with you when it comes to the trashy stuff.

TomboCheck said...

Nice post GJ! HERE is an interesting story about an afterschool graffiti 'class', where they teach kids about creating more 'beautiful' graffiti. Though this might not be viewed as the right tact to take, it would at least reduce the amount of offensive scribble that you find.

As far as the civic graffiti - I agree, boring but necessary. Maybe one day those boys will mix it up and make a mural of their own! :)

Granny J said...

tombo -- Tnx for the link; a lot of graffiti types could use more style!

Desert Cat said...

The orange is communication lines, whether telephone or cable. The white is for information, such as noting where the requested marking area is, whether a particular utility is "clear" of that area, etc.

The rest of the colors you got right.

You may not see purple in your city, but that would designate reclaimed water lines, if there were any.

Granny J said...

dcat -- thanks for the data, especially for cluing me in on the concept "communications". I knew thqt the hot color (orange) meant some kind of hot line & that it wasn't APS, but I never thought to combine both cable and telephone into a superclass. As for the purple, I'm truly waiting for that one! We really need it up here in Prescott; especially after the SRP gets finished with us!

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