We’re using are to address some difficult issues Evergreen is facing. The most obvious is graffiti, but more specifically tagging. Graffiti is a kind of Art, so I’m going to do some technical waxing and defining for a sec before getting to the Evergreen epidemic. I’ll keep it short, but this is my area of expertise.
The Arts is the study of any form of human expression, so they cover a broad range of topics. Graffiti is a kind of Art, short for Visual Arts. Graffiti is a type of street expression or hip hop that is most often executed in spray paint is totally stunning when done well. This example here is totally collaborative and organic. I find it wicked inspiring. It’s also the dead end for Fowler Creek, so an Evergreen historic landmark of sorts. This would’ve been Downtown Evergreen back in the day.
Tagging, the dreaded enemy, is the single color spray painted, hurried expression. It’s often a number, name or identifying mark of some kind. Yuck. Evergreen is host to both expressions.
These two example pictures were taken from the same Evergreen location, with the lens pointed in opposite directions.
Now, I would be lying if I told you I didn’t appreciate the colors, the lines and the value of this style of graffiti art. I went to school in Southern California, finding myself inspired by LA’s hip hop vibe and graffiti. I love the goofy giraffe off of our Cal Trains. The truth is the only thing that separates this from Fine Arts is the legal permissions and contracts that go with its preservation.
Working in public schools in Eastside San Jose and Evergreen, I have the conversation with high school students all the time about painting murals, doing something you love for a living, and how I use it as opportunity to say something later. I encourage entrepreneurship with education. I encourage students to ask for proper permissions, have a clear thought and a game plan. Your property owner will respect that and therefore protect your work.
I was having that conversation with students pretty half cocked, never having asked for permissions for public artwork before, instead executing private contracts. I never opened myself up to the Public Sector before like I have with this project. It has been well received by every level of the Community. Now that I’ve done it personally, I’ve not been misinforming the youth. If you have a good idea, it’s going to find support. I feel a little better about the conversations I’ve had with Silver Creek students loitering and watching me paint over the summers.
The problem in Evergreen was visually obvious. When I first reached out to the City of San Jose in regards to the Evergreen Mural Walk, I was sent a long list of places and people that have been affected by graffiti. From retirement communities and schools to private property damage, the scars it leaves on this Community aren’t pretty.
This visual allows for the Broken Window Theory to set in. This is an idea within the study of criminology which leads to added and worsening destruction and in this case crime. Evergreen experiences above national average numbers for violent crimes and home invasions. I need students driven to school instead feeling safe enough to walk. This project is aimed at trickling down positive, starting with removing this, the most visible canvas.
The Evergreen Mural Walk artwork is absolutely designed with graffiti and tattoo influences. They’ll be fun to paint should any graffiti artists come out from local high schools. The bright, bold colors is something I feel very strongly about recreating. Graffiti Artist don’t mark on top of what they consider to be “Good Art”, adding to culture and acknowledging their existence. It’s an odd ethic, but a treaty I broker with a cool approach and reap the rewards all over Evergreen schools.
Hopefully the Evergreen Mural Walk gets these individuals involved and creates community stewards of them. It ought to create community pride in its execution and subject matter. This shows the street culture of Evergreen while limiting its further decay.
Here’s further evidence of our Evergreen Problem
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