Over the years I’ve encountered many people in a variety of abandoned buildings; scrappers, high school students, drug addicts, homeless, geo trackers, photographers, art students, families*, but most interesting of all have been graffiti artists.
It’s always a disappointment when a place you love gets covered in spray painted dicks, phone numbers and lewd comments. Years of construction, craftsmanship, and care…covered in spray painted dicks. Yeah, real adult guys.
There are times when I don’t mind paint, though, and that’s times when it delivers new life to a building that needs it. After years of exploring one of my favorite spots, I found myself sick of shooting it. One day while poking around an area that was suspiciously locked, I found walls and walls of beautiful artwork. The new life this art delivered to the buildings quickly inspired me to seek out art in abandoned buildings and photograph the ones I love.
Recently I ran into a crew just outside of NYC and was so excited to finally see some sweet artwork like they’d done before. Unfortunately for me they weren’t on a mission to mark art, but instead, cover up someone else’s. They invited me to join them, and cautiously I did.
It turns out ‘covering up someone’s art’ was really converting hate speech in a ward into something less intense. With paint in hand, the crew rid the building of swastikas turning each into a Windows 98 logo. It was totally rad.
If there is anyone I’d like to see in an abandoned building, it’d be a graffiti artist. Well, or anyone except for security. 🙂