As I have expressed in past posts, I love street art.
Not too long ago I had the opportunity to interview a well known, and very talented street artist, Chor Boogie. I loved the way his artwork makes walls come alive, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn more about his creations (read the post here).
This visual journal page pre-dates the interview with Boogie. My love for street art had already begun to stir around the time I moved to Atlanta.
While in college I spent some time studying the street art genre, focusing on the more well known artists such as Keith Haring, Banksy, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I loved the images that flashed up on the screen in the large art history auditorium. The artwork found a way to present important messages in a fun, vibrant, and inviting way.
Although I did enjoy my time studying these graffiti artists, the artwork didn’t resonate with me the way other genres did. It wasn’t until my move to the “big city” of Atlanta, that street art began to take hold.
Growing up in the suburbs of Roswell, GA, you aren’t exposed to much street art, except the occasional suburban gang tag. When I made the move to Atlanta, the gang tags did grace many buildings, bridges, and walls; however, interspersed with these negative scribbles were beautiful, planned, and well executed works of art.
Not too long ago Atlanta began hosting a Living Walls Conference, which promoted street art through murals. Suddenly amazing, vibrant murals were finding their way to every street tunnel, and concrete, roadside wall. As I made my drives from here to there, I was continuously distracted by the beautiful shapes, colors, and messages.
The words “never give up” greet me on my way from East Lake to Decatur, Edgewood, Candler Park, and Downtown. Friendly bubbles and bulbous shapes make me smile as I had to Edgewood shopping center. A long mural depicting local flora, fauna, and waterways educates me as I go about my day.
However, as much as I love my neighborhood murals, my favorite examples of street art are the more illegal works, which appear over night.
Something about the ridiculous images that find their ways on the walls, the hurried feel to them, and the conversations that emerge peak my curiosity. I especially love witnessing the conversations between works of art. “Don’t stop art” is added to a stop sign, a few days later a “b” is added in front of “art”, spelling out “Don’t stop bart”, with a picture of Bart Simpson skateboarding accompanying it. Another nearby stop sign became littered with phrases such as “stop eating meat” to “stop eating “plants”, to “stop, it’s hammer time”. I looked forward to driving past one wall where a stenciled bunny rabbit was added, who was suddenly being chased by a pack of foxes, and later had carrots flying around.
One day, while making my way to my local Target, I discovered one of my all time favorite works of art. It immediately made me laugh out loud as I turned the corner, and suddenly discovered two Tom Sellecks staring back at me.
Two splashes of yellow were quickly added to a bridge before a two black Tom Selleck stencils were added on top. I loved the crisp stencil over the dripping yellow spray paint. It was beautiful, funny, and added a moment of happiness to a bleak overpass.
It reminded me that not all art has to be serious. It is just as important to have light hearted moments. Artwork is about pulling a feeling out of the viewer, and I felt a lot as I passed by the spray painted Tom Selleck. I felt my smile spread across my face, and the laughter move from my belly to my lips. I felt my day get just a little bit better as Tom’s mustache smile and dark eyes watched me head on my way.
- Visual journal
- Rubber cement
- White paper
- colored pencils
- Yellow watercolor
To create this visual journal page I used a range of materials to create more of a patchwork feel. I wanted a mix of crisp lines, with sketchy scribbles, and paint drips.
I started the the background first. I ripped up sections of blue, green, and gray to create the sky, trees, asphalt of the road, and grass. Next, I began drawing out the bridge using pencil on a separate sheet of paper. I opted to draw the bridge out, and fill it in with colored pencil, rather than use more magazine pages, to make it pop against the background.
After the bridge was drawn, and filled in with colored pencil, I carefully cut between the bars on top using an Xacto knife. The bridge was glued on top of the background using rubber cement.
To replicate the yellow spray paint splatters I mixed water with watercolor, and placed a blob of the mixture on a separate sheet of paper. I carefully blew the blew of watercolor at an angle, until it splattered. I repeated, let the two splatters dry, then cut them out and glued them on the bridge.
To imitate the stenciled Tom Selleck I found a silhouette image of his face online, printed it out, then traced it onto the yellow splatters. I filled in the tracing with sharpie. Finally, I added the words under the bridge “find humor in art”, because sometimes you need a little comic relief.
I have never been satisfied with the way I wrote the words under the bridge. I wish I had centered it, wrote them bigger, or even tried them smaller, and off to the side. One day I may even choose to simply cover them up. Before you commit to writing in sharpie on your book, sketch it out first!
Create a visual journal page that incorporates magazine images, colored pencil, sharpie, and watercolor. Have fun!
Thanks for taking the time to check out this post and read my blog! Help me spread the word about visual journaling by sharing with others. Comment below with your own visual journal tips and stories. Thanks for stopping by!