Tag Archives: people’s art

Art of Communication – Graffiti reflects hope in Haiti – CSMonitor.com

M. Mair, Thinking, Black and White, Original Art

M. Mair, Thinking, Original Art

I follow the Repeating Islands blog because it is full of news from and information about the Caribbean and its artists, writers, musicians and film makers.  Sometimes it shares a story that touches me,  and that I want to share with you.  In the midst of devastation, violence, cholera and bad weather the only way to move forward is through hope.  Here is a story of one artist who puts that hope into images that everyone that passes can see, feel and understand.  Let us be grateful for artists like Jerry Rosembert, whose work helps those around him.

Graffiti reflects hope in Haiti – CSMonitor.com.

More Art in Passing

The other day, driving through Halifax to work on the boat, we noticed that boards were being erected over the windows of a real estate office on North Street – an odd thing, we thought.  Then we learned why – faced with consistent problems with tagging and broken windows, the real estate broker had decided to do something different.  He was covering his windows and had hired two street artists to fill the surfaces he was putting up with their work.

Over the next few weekends we saw the artists at work – first one, then the other.  Here’s their completed artwork – it certainly brightens up the area.  Now we’ll see how much the taggers respect their work.


The first piece of art that was completed.


Here is another view.

The second piece was more difficult to take pictures of, since there were no good, uncluttered sight lines.  Here it is from an angle:


As you see it approaching from downtown...

Other pieces of art in passing:

The Mi’kmaq canoe by Lake Banook, the Dartmouth lake on which there is a world class paddling course.  I love the canoe for its simplicity, its elegance and the intentions behind its creation.  The words written on its rims say it all:  A gift from the earth to the Mi’kmaq – and from the Mi’kmaq to the world.


The Lake Banook canoe, looking from the pavement.


The bow of the canoe.

The totem pole on the island on Sullivan’s Pond, just down the way from Lake Banook.  It was carved by the Kwakiutl of the West Coast  and presented to Dartmouth by the government of British Columbia during the Canada Summer Games held in August 1969.


The totem pole given as a gift from west coast to east.

Hope you enjoy seeing them too!

The Value of Shared Art vs. Owned Art

Some art is clearly meant for sharing.  It’s found on building walls, along roadways, in public parks and gardens, even in places it was never meant to be, like tunnel walls and the sides of train cars.

Some art is created to be owned.  It’s meant to be sold, because that’s how the person who creates it sustains themselves.  Whoever pays for that art helps buy the artist who created it food and shelter and the tools to keep making art – and sometimes a lot more besides (how and why that money gets shared with others is a different discussion, I think).

Some shared art is paid for – by building owners, by governments, by funding groups, by business groups.  Sometimes the intent is clearly to help an artist share their work; other times the reputation of the artist is a large part of the motivation.

Art in museums might be considered shared art.  It has the disadvantage that it will be seen by fewer people than art outdoors or in public places, but at least it is there for those who want to and choose to see it.  Art is shared with those when artists exhibit in shows and private galleries, usually for a short time and with the hope that it will find an owner.  And whoever owns it will have a say in who else will get to see it.

The internet is another place where many share their art – or rather the best representation they can produce of the complexity, depth of color and texture of the original piece.  Some share freely; others with the stipulation that the image be used only for personal enjoyment.

I enjoy shared art.  I visit museums and galleries when I can.  I browse the internet to see what others are doing.  When I am out and about, I like to take the time to see the art around me – officially sanctioned or otherwise.  Sometimes when I stop to look, someone else will as well.  I notice that most of the time I don’t see many others doing the same thing (though I suppose if someone identified a Banksy creation that would be different).

Which makes me wonder about how most people see shared art (when they see it).   Is shared art seen as less valuable than owned art, simply because it is shared and accessible?

Does a work of art become perceived as more valuable because fewer people have access to it?

Dartmouth Walkway Shared_Public Art

Shared art on the harbour walk in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Art in Passing

Art is all around us, but it’s easier to find in some places than others.  Here in Halifax it’s easy – from street art to public art of all kinds, it’s there for the looking at.  Today I thought I would share a few of the many pieces of art we pass on our travels.

These are among my current favorites:  The bull at No Bull Auto; the transmission parts man on the sign for Cottman Transmission; the public/street art along the Dartmouth waterfront walk, including the existence of an official ‘graffiti wall’.

Hope you enjoy them too!


The Bull at No Bull Auto


The Cottman Transmission Man


Wall on the Dartmouth Harbour walk.


On the Dartmouth Harbour walk, Praying Girls


The official graffiti wall on the Dartmouth Harbour Walk

Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo

Mission Muralismo

In our travels we have sometimes come across art blooming in unexpected places. We have found images filling a wall by a beach, along the walls of abandoned buildings, sheltered under arches, coming into view unexpectedly behind buildings. Some were breathtaking, some convoluted and curious, some very simple. They showed places, people, strange creatures, things happening, worlds splintering, people coming together, people driven apart. They were as varied in style as they were in content. Wherever they were, they gave a different flavour to the place we were in, a sense that underneath the exteriors we saw at a glance were layers of complex stories, many deeper and darker than we could know. They suggested a rawness and richness of experience we, strangers, could only guess at.

So I was very interested when a friend of mine was involved in the production of a beautiful book of street art edited by Annice Jacoby, “Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo”. In fact, she found that it swallowed her life for a while as she enjoyed wandering the early-morning streets and alleys with Annice taking pictures, then worked with her helping bring the book to life. Now it has been published, and the colorful, densely packed images she helped create to capture those murals are accompanied by the kind of essays and commentaries that I would have loved to have had in my travels through other places.

Congratulations, Lori Bloustein, on the success of the work you and others did and thank you for helping bring the stories and the richness of these image-covered walls to us. Your photos are beautiful, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of them.

Margaret Mair, MairImages.ca