Day 99: Touring the street art scene
I love the power of Play to get you looking more closely and carefully at the world. It reveals the layered reality that is all around us, but that we so easily walk by when we’re not paying attention. I talked a couple of weeks ago about how Hide and Seek gets you looking at rooms that you feel completely familiar with in a whole different way. Suddenly you’re not just crossing from one room to another because you’re done sleeping and are now ready for breakfast: you’re searching for hiding places.
Doing a graffiti photo walk around Brick Lane had me spotting works of street art that normally I would pass by. Sure, a really bold splash of colour might naturally catch my attention, but today I’m deliberately seeking works out, and it is actually incredibly rewarding. There are subtle images that only when you stop and look closer do you see for their satirical brilliance. Or their artistic excellence. Or their multiple interpretations. Or for the clever way they’ve incorporated existing architectural features.
This is probably the area of London to find some of the best street art, but I’m still dazzled by the array of bold, exciting images. And, again, I would have walked past most of these without paying attention. I find myself exploring down alleyways, spotting a burst of colour down a side-street and investigating closer. I see car parks behind industrial estates, adorned with beauty out of a spray-can. I see posters and repeated insignias. I get annoyed at people tagging on top of genuinely interesting creative expression.
Tomorrow will be the last day of my 100 Days of Play. But one of the things I’m definitely going to take away is the extraordinary power of play to get you to pay attention, look closer, and truly see the world around you. And, boy, when you do it’s such a revelation!
Graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss. – Banksy