Perishable Art

I can’t understand how people can create perishable art. I would feel awful seeing someone eating my photos, or watching them melt or wilt into oblivion. One of the many things that attract me to photography is its immortality. I have photos of landscapes that, as of the 2013 Boulder flood, no longer exist. Furthermore, now that the internet and digital photography are ubiquitous these photographs have traveled the world and will last until the next Ice Age freezes over the world’s servers.

While I spend most of my time photographing the natural world here in Colorado I am also attracted to documenting other artist’s urban graffiti. In 2007 I discovered this amazing graffito (singular) in a parking lot in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I photographed a section and uploaded it to my website for posterity. I’ve been trying to identify the artist but the trail has gone cold.

Santa Fe Graffito mural section captured on June 11th 2007…

Unfortunately, as I found out on a recent trip to Santa Fe, this form of art is as perishable as ice sculpture. Unless protected it will melt into obscurity.

Santa Fe Graffito melting mural re-captured on June 7th 2015…

The parking lot art gallery containing this and other works belongs to the New Mexico Workforce Connection building in downtown Santa Fe. Here’s a sampling of the creativity currently perishing in this cinderblock museum…

Urban Flora Corner

When I returned on April 21, 2018 it was all gone, replaced with a grey wall…

Blank Wall

More perished art…


Here’s a series on careers…





I was feeling bummed after seeing all this until I happened by the Santa Fe Teen Arts Center. This is an amazing place where art is nurtured and protected.

Here is the Phoenix that rose to lift my spirits. This fantastic mural is by John Santos. It is explained as follows…

Fenghuang the Chinese phoenix is a symbol of high virtue and grace of power and prosperity. It represents the union of yin and  yang.  When used as a decoration on a house, it symbolizes that loyalty and honesty was in the people that lived there.

Only one phoenix exists at a time and lives every 500 to 1461 years. After birth the new phoenix embalms the ashes of the old phoenix in a egg made of myrrh then deposits it in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis.(Sun city in Greek) and places it on an alter for the sun god. Heliopolis in this mural is represented by the Aztec sun calendar. In the background is Quetzalcoatl dancing in celebration of Fenghuang’s journey to the sun god. Quetzalcoatl is known as the patron god of the Aztec priesthood of learning and knowledge and is associated with the morning star Venus. It is also believed that Quetzalcoatl is the originator of the arts, poetry, the inventor of books and the calendar, the giver of maize to mankind and sometimes a symbol of death and resurrection.

Painting a picture that acknowledges life’s journeys and diverse backgrounds of everyone that have been dedicated to the Teen Center and its mission is reflected in this mural – an outlet for youth expression.

Santa Fe Teen Center Mural

Hopefully this beautiful mural is protected by the artist’s sage advice…

Toy Sign

Here is a sampling of what I discovered outside the Teen Center (it was Sunday so I couldn’t visit the inside of the building)…


Santa Fe Teen Center-1


Teen Center Rear Entrance

I hope to go back and help archive this joyful graphical extravaganza.

While I enjoy the creativity and visual excitement of graffiti, I do have one major exception. There is no excuse for using the natural landscape as a canvas. When this happens it is no longer art; it is vandalism. Artists and taggers have generally shown great respect for Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks. Here’s an unfortunate example of vandalism recently inflicted upon the land. Remember, “Only toys tagg natural space”.

Graffito is seen vandalizing Boulder’s Gregory Canyon as reported in the Boulder Daily Camera. (Photo: Lauren Fagan / Daily Camera)

Boulder Grafitto Vandalism

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: