Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gaia: Stick Up Artist

Though I abhor graffiti and most invasive street art, I have to admit liking the paste-up poster art I've seen around town on abandoned, ghost buildings. Every day, on my way to work, I walk past examples of it on Franklin Street between Park and Howard Street. These images enliven what is otherwise a depressing urban blight eyesore - all those boarded-up, decaying buildings that look like potential Factory Records album covers or post-war Europe circa 1945. I think street artists themselves describe their actions as "co-opting urban space" in order to make a statement or communicate something/anything to passersby. I recently posted a query asking if anyone knew who was responsible for these posters (shown below)...

...and I think I've found my mystery man. Could it be Gaia, the classic mythology named (after the Greek Earth Goddess) former MICA student whose work was profiled last year in Urbanite magazine? To quote the Magic Eightball: "Signs point to yes."

In an October 2010 piece entitled "The Oracle," writer Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson tracked down and interviewed the artist whose art frequently depicts creatures that are half human, half-animal —people with the heads of bears and birds reflecting the what the artist sees as a connection between the wild and civilization.

Cock blocked by street art

"Baltimore's been a fantastic canvas, which is sad because ultimately my work wouldn't exist if there wasn't any neglected space," Gaia was quoted as saying. "What that neglected space allows for is a certain freedom and grassroots, democratic, public space. The artist has full agency, and there aren't any boundaries or obstacles for an artist to produce work besides the law of posting on property."

The artist at work

This one's funny: the New York Fried Chicken joint on Charles Street and North Avenue.

Read the full Urbanite article here: "The Oracle" (Urbanite, October 1, 2010)

Click here to see a map of where Gaia's pieces can be seen around the city.

Related Links:
"Street Art @ Franklin & Howard Street" (Accelerated Decrepitude)
"The Oracle" (Urbanite Magazine)
gaia.streetar's photostream (Flickr)
"Gaia Plasters Baltimore" (lostaeminor.com)

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