In an earlier post, I introduced the concept behind my Urban Pieces project. Here again is a statement of this project:
" Urban Pieces results from my personal search in the urban environment for a sense of place – that feeling that a place is special and unique with authentic human attachment and belonging. Specifically, I have sought out and photographed where hand-painted murals and graffiti masterpieces visually intersect with elements of the vernacular urban landscape. I intend for each photograph to capture an instance where I found color and cultural expressiveness that creates for me a one of a kind experience of these places that would not happen if the pedestrian elements were there alone without these touches of the human hand."
I use the photograph above -- that I took in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas, Texas, on January 2, 2011 – to illustrate the intersection “where hand-painted murals and graffiti masterpieces visually intersect with elements of the vernacular urban landscape.”
This particular forest landscape mural has been painted on a four-sided pillar that supports a freeway. It and a number of other beautiful hand-painted pieces have been added to the “Art Park” in Deep Ellum, all utilizing these freeway supports. For me personally, the mural works found in Deep Ellum are perhaps some of Dallas’s most redeeming cultural achievements. Again personally…many Dallasites may give it a nod, but I doubt that many feel it “redeems” the city culturally.
I qualify freeway supports like this in their unpainted state as vernacular in that they represent the common building style of a period or place. They have a textured finish, but they could be found anywhere in the U.S., if not throughout the world. So they are common. As is the drain pipe and electrical housing that are also found in this photograph. But with paintbrush in hand an artist has added a colorful landscape that has made this common freeway support transcend the vernacular. One can now recognize this particular pillar as unique and could describe it to another person as a meeting point, for example. And thus it helps create a unique sense of place.