Friday, October 21, 2005

Public Art and the Art of Madness


When I think of the work of Cy Twomby and Ross Bleckner I have found them both modern and intelligent, sensitive and actually quite beautiful. The street sign featured above typographic advertising for food I can say are equally as fine as anything I have seen by the aforementioned artists. This is one of those things about art. There are times when it sneaks up on you in all of its glory, and for many of us, it goes unnoticed and unsigned.

Why is this drawings compelling? The way that the artist draws shows an individuality, although it could be considered ‘bad drawing’, its very presence in a public place as part of advertising tells us that to many in that community it is art – and that cannot be denied. But let us also look at the blackboard with the statement, ‘Some People Are Afraid Of Changes’. For a moment, although all of the text in the picture is English, it reads like something that can be alien. For someone who does not know what source is, the sign would read like Greek. Adding the ‘S’ to change gives it a sort of poignancy. The writer clearly has thought about change to the extent that the extra ‘s’ is just so much more powerful. The spacing for the foods, the comma and the hyphens as well as the thinner lettering for the & sign are all quirky and add to the appeal of the street sign.

I cannot help but also cast my mind to Andy Warhol’s protégé, Jean Michel Basquiat, who used a variety of media together. For this road sign the use of a variety of media is for necessity. But we can enjoy it in the same way anyway. I have to also state that I know that for many people art cannot be things they pass by every day on the street. It may be because they are unfamiliar with the main purposes of art, which includes art for is own sake. One of the reasons that these images appeal to us is because “true” Trinidadian comes from the street, and it goes unacknowledged every day. - Adele

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