(WELL, "PROBLEM" IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER.)
I remember the first time I saw real street art. Not gang tags, or the markings of a kid who just figured out what he could do with a can of spray paint...but true art with meaning and intention surrounding it.
Growing up in a small town doesn't lend itself well to many things. For kids who crave constant entertainment, the years before you can head out on your own are a bit of a wash -- unless you genuinely enjoy spending Friday nights perusing Wal*Mart out of boredom. Small town life also doesn't typically encourage diversity or expression. I never saw true pieces of art on the street until I went off to college. The main player? Blue Sky. The artist had a few murals sprinkled around Columbia, SC at the time -- and I fell in love with every one of them (including the canvases in his gallery I'd have to live solely off air to ever consider affording).
Since I've had the opportunity to travel more the past few years, it always amazes me to see unfamiliar pieces in new, exciting cities. The way the piece is created is usually my first consideration. The second, the subject or message it might be trying to convey. The third, how the piece (whether it's the style, the message, or the artist) has either shaped or been shaped by the area it is placed.
This last point, in turn, has become ever more prevalent since I've come to Houston. Within six months of moving to a part of the city deemed Midtown, I noticed when a couple of gorgeous women were pasted near the Metro Rail -- and I also noticed when they left. It wasn't much longer after they were removed that a few buildings were repainted, an abandoned convenience store began demolition, and a couple of apartment complexes moved in. This seems to be a pattern here, as I'm sure it is most everywhere else. As a portion of the city grows, characteristics that once made it interesting and eclectic are altered to fit a more conventional crowd. Gentrification can be a bummer for some. It happens.
But it makes me curious....as well as a little more ambitious to really get an idea of how the art landscape within the city is changing.
SO WHAT AM I BABBLING ABOUT?
If you've noticed the Projects addition to the site (or my blowing up social media the past couple weeks), I've decided to start a project called xGUERILLA. Partially to serve as a creative outlet. Partially to justify my hoarding of urban art imagery. Mostly, though, to help document pieces within Houston -- whether they be rogue wheatpastes, murals, stickers, commercial, etc. -- to get an idea of when they're springing up, how long they may be able to thrive in a neighborhood, and how the city's growth may be impacting the lifespan of art....or, how in turn, the presence of art may impact the development of an area.
Currently, this Street Art Inventory Project consists of two parts:
Both resources are updated weekly, at the least. The Web Map showcases all of the current inventory while the individual pieces are rationed out for Instagram posts. So...you know...I don't completely spam your newsfeed.
I NEED YOU...TO FIND PIECES!
Now, you may be wondering why I've gathered you all here today...or whenever you get around to reading this. Well, it's simple. I need your help...or the help of your friends or your friends' friends or your friends' friends' mothers. Although Houston is a rather small city (errr...*cue sketchy eyed emoji*), I am only one girl with one set of eyes and the ability to take one picture at a time. Even though I'll be scouring the usual hashtags and venues for material, I'd sincerely appreciate it if anyone in the Houston area who happens to come across something interesting would post it to the appropriate outlets for me. Like, you'd be my absolute favorite if you did. Here are ways you can get my attention:
Want a peak at what's currently up? Ch-ch-check it out!
Meet the Mastermind
Technical Writer Extraordinaire. Cartographer and Art Lover. Hater of fragmented sentences.