I had heard about HOPE Outdoor Gallery in Austin, but I had not seen it in person. One day this past summer, I decided to drop by. Click on my Instagram above to see more photos from Carolyn’s Tumblr (my visual blogging platform).
“Any passerby in an urban cityscape has observed the colorful, provocative, illegal ‘eyesore’ that is graffiti. Although many consider the spray-painted pieces a nuisance, graffiti has been gaining recognition from the art world more and more as a legitimate form of art.
When most people think of graffiti, they imagine ‘tags,’ or a stylized writing of a person’s name. While tags are probably the most popular forms, graffiti art is much more than that. It can mean a colorful mural with a message of diversity or a black and white stencil piece protesting police brutality. In each case, graffiti art makes a statement.”
I wasn’t sure what I would think about HOPE, but when I got out of my car and moved up close, I was astonished. Yes, there are some random paint spots and doodles, but also, many heartfelt, significant statements about life and some impressive visual imagery. I can see why HOPE has become a popular Austin tourist destination. While visiting, a steady stream of visitors arrived onsite, eager to take photographs of the art on view.
I understand the owner of the property where HOPE Outdoor Gallery sits is ready to develop the site after several years. The “exhibition” must be moved or destroyed. I for one vote for moving it to a new location, but also, I am struck that the owner of the property allowed HOPE Outdoor Gallery to remain for such a long time, and I thank him.
Why is graffiti important? Rieve Bule muses,
“Graffiti is debatably the first form of art to ever exist. The intentions of our ancestors who created all those ancient cave paintings were the same as those of artists today. Whether it’s done on the side of a cave or on the side of a building there really isn’t much difference.”
I hope Austin and the philanthropic and artistic communities will join together to save HOPE Outdoor Gallery. Stay tuned …
On a personal note, I hold a Master’s Degree in art history. The visual arts and visual expression are always of interest, including graffiti. Thank you for bearing with me as I diverged a bit topic-wise on Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog!