Wordless Wednesday: Swoon

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Photo credit: Charlotte Hamrick New Orleans, 2011

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Saturday, 1/12/13: The French Quarter needs your elbow grease!

The Vieux Carré Graffiti Abatement Program, a donation-funded grassroots effort, needs your time and energy this Saturday, January 12, 2013! Please pitch in and support this fun and satisfying event — you’ll see the results of your effort immediately!

VCGAP Clean-up 1-12-13(Please click on the image above to link to the document.)

From the press release regarding this volunteering opportunity:

WHAT: Volunteer Graffiti Cleanup

WHEN: Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon

WHERE: French Quarter, NOPD 8th District Police Station, 334 Royal Street

For those passionate about making the French Quarter graffiti-free, please sign up and be a part of this fun and worthwhile event! There are opportunities to serve as a group leader, as well as hands-on tasks to participate. With the tools and instructions in hand, volunteers spread out through the Quarter and remove as many graffiti marks as possible. Volunteers receive a work t-shirt (while supplies last), all cleaning products and tools for the cleanup, and are treated post clean-up French Quarter lunch!

With the upcoming major public events, the French Quarter Business Association and VC-GAP invite individuals and groups to volunteer on Saturday, January 12, 2013 to help rid public spaces of unsightly graffiti. The clean-up will begin with check in at 9:00 AM in the courtyard of the New Orleans Police Department’s 8th District, 334 Royal Street.

The French Quarter Business Association (FQBA), along with other prominent French Quarter groups, implemented a French Quarter initiative named Vieux Carré Graffiti Abatement Program, or VC-GAP, in the summer of 2010. VC-GAP hopes to eradicate the structures in the French Quarter of the illegal graffiti.

Graffiti is a real community issue that businesses, activists, residents, and volunteers are willing to face head on. Please join VC-GAP in the fight against illegal graffiti and the eradication campaign!

To volunteer or donate contact the FQBA office at 504-309-1423 or email graffiti@fqba.org

For more information, please visit our website: www.fqba.org. Donations to the effort are also graciously appreciated. Everyone can help!

Historic French Quarter and Faubourg Tremé defaced with graffiti advertising Coca-Cola products

It is my opinion that the City of New Orleans is being pimped out promoted at an unprecedented level (to a degree that gives rise to what could be described as “neighborhood fatigue”). Such heavy promotion rarely occurs without unintended consequences: for example, illegal, ugly, and damaging guerrilla marketing campaigns. This kind of defacement is unconscionable and must be addressed immediately.

The following is a letter I sent this evening to elected officials and law enforcement; I’m tired, so it was brief and to the point.

Spray-painted stenciled graffiti advertising a Coca-Cola product in conjunction with the NCAA Men’s Final Four event.

Honorable Mayor Landrieu, Councilmembers Palmer and Clarkson, and NOPD 8th District Commander Walls:

The attached photos depict advertising associated with the NCAA Men’s Final Four event for Coca-Cola products — spray-painted on sidewalks and pavement (including flagstones) in the French Quarter and Faubourg Tremé (and perhaps other) neighborhoods in our city. I ask, is this really how we want companies to behave when our city hosts national events?

This advertising is also prohibited by a recently adopted New Orleans ordinance:

Sec. 134-128. – Advertisements on streets, telegraph poles, etc., prohibited.

(a)  It shall be unlawful for any person or entity to post or paint advertisements of any kind on any street, sidewalk, public buildings, utility poles, light standards, street signs, parking meters, trees located in public right-of-way or traffic signal standards.

(b)  Any unlawful posted or painted advertisement on any street, sidewalk, public buildings, utility poles, light standards, street signs, parking meters, trees located in public rights-of-way or traffic signal standard shall be seized and removed.

(c)  It shall be the responsibility of the Department of Sanitation or the Department of Parks and Parkways to devise a system of removal for such signs.

(d)  It shall be unlawful to distribute or cause to be distributed any commercial product samples, commercial advertising brochures, leaflets pamphlets or commercial literature of any kind on the streets and sidewalks of the city, except as otherwise provided in this Code.

(M.C.S., Ord. No. 24452, § 1, 6-2-11)

Source: http://library.municode.com/HTML/10040/level3/PTIICO_CH134SI_ARTIIIRE.html#PTIICO_CH134SI_ARTIIIRE_S134-128ADSTTEPOETPR

Spray-painted stenciled graffiti advertisement on flagstone surface for another Coca-Cola product.

Can you please reply to this email indicating how you intend to address this defacement of public property?

Thank you for your time, consideration, and prompt response.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It is regrettable that there isn’t an easy solution or means to expedite addressing such issues promptly when they arise. Situations like this will be ongoing concerns; the hope is for action on the part of our City’s Administration that will yield consistent improvement. While some of the factors that cause defacement or damage can be abated, vigilance and timely remedies must be implemented.

Likewise, the consistent enforcement of existing and new ordinances will also determine the degree of success experienced in addressing these issues over time. While private property owners can be compelled to take action to address, for example, structural or blight issues, there is no similar mechanism available to compel the city to address such defacement promptly or focus on enforcement.

Stated simply, the most significant difference between historic beauty and hazardous decay is cumulative, uninterrupted neglect. The continued degradation of the historic heart of New Orleans cannot remain unaddressed, particularly if one considers that our amazing city will be in an ever-increasing spotlight while hosting the 2013 Super Bowl and celebrating its 300th Anniversary in 2018.

Swoon At NOMA

Brooklyn-based artist Caledonia Curry, known as Swoon in the street art community, will be unveiling her work, Thalassa, tonight at NOMA.  I first became aware of Swoon’s street art in 2008 when I saw her work (photo below) plastered on the side of a crumbling structure on Tchoupitoulas which is no longer there.

Tchoupitoulas St, November 2008, Photo by Charlotte Hamrick

Back then, I was regularly photographing street art along Tchoupitoulas as I traveled it twice a day to my workplace. I’d never seen art like this on the street before so I contacted ReX of NoLA Rising who told me it was Swoon’s work. I could tell the piece wasn’t actually painted onto the structure and, subsequently, read that Swoon paints onto paper which she applies to buildings with wheat paste.

In the fall of 2010 Swoon visited New Orleans again, leaving, I believe, three images in the Bywater/St.Claude area. I was able to photograph one of the pieces on St.Claude, below. (Update: went by this site 6/11 and the art has been greyed out.)

St. Claude Ave, October 2010, Photo by Charlotte Hamrick

St.Claude Ave, October 2010, Photo by Charlotte Hamrick

From the Times-Picayune:

“Big paper prints are Swoon’s stock and trade, but they’re not the sort of tame art reproductions so often found framed on apartment walls. Swoon, 33, gained international fame as a graffiti guerrilla, aggressively applying her artwork to public places with — or without — the property owner’s permission. But Swoon’s style has always been a bit gentler than most taggers. Curry’s lacy paper prints, often perforated with hundreds of shaped holes and affixed to public walls with old-fashioned wheat paste, aren’t permanent like spray paint. In time, they peel away. And the images she chooses to decorate urban common areas — mostly portraits of benign deities and ordinary folk — don’t have the same alienated bravado of most graffiti writers.”

Michael DeMocker / The Times-Picayune ~ Thalassa, a large-scale sculpture by street artist Swoon, rises in a New Orleans warehouse

Swoon will speak tonight at NOMA at 6 p.m. There is also reception is from 5 to 10 p.m. and Thalassa will be on view through September 25.