I don't know about you,
but I enjoy and appreciate the Art, as in Fine, and I consider certain kindsa graffiti and outdoor stuff such as murals to be exactly that, Fine Art, as long as you're not going over somebody's personal property and respecting others and stuff. I totally enjoy all the murals and giant pieces that have been going up all over town in connection with the Open Walls thing, and I also appreciate the acts of Art that have been thrown up on willfully neglected properties that are a blight on neighborhoods, such as the Wall Hunters thing, and the efforts of the Baltimore Slumlord Watch, wherein artists go and paint crazy-big pieces on buildings to call attention to the fact that said buildings are in bad shape and an eyesore and probably have rodents and all kinds of horrible shit going on inside that affects the entire block and they need to be fixed up. I guess it qualifies as Civil Disobedience or something, but I'm no lawyer, OK? On a reductio ad absurdum level, it's kinda like when somebody goes and fingers WASH ME in the filth-film on a dirty truck, only it's way more important than that, because it's a shitty crumbling house right in the middle of where people live, so it's a pox on the block and stuff.
I'm also a big fan of those Alligators on the 28th street bridge, how great are those? Murals! Art! That is the stuff that makes a City a cool place to be! Meanwhile, I heard about this thing a guy named Steve Powers—who is a most excellent Artist, in my opinion—did on a block over on the east side, at Milton Ave. and Eager St., so I went over to check it out for myself, and while I was there, I saw some people standing around, a lady and a guy, just standing around next to a tripod with a video camera on it, so I figured they were the Teevee News and I went over and asked what they were doing, and then of course they started asking me what I was doing and what I thought about the Art thing (these crazy-big sign-painterlooking giant two-story high letters that spell out TOGETHER FOREVER, and then around the corner of the end building I AM HERE BECAUSE ITS HOME on a whole block of rowhouses that are gonna get ripped down), and so on account of I love Teevee, I was totally down with standing in front of their news-cam while Teevee Video Guy Bryan Barr and Teevee News Lady Joy Lepola exploited my face and Opinions and stuff for some Sound Bites about the big cool piece of Art. I said a buncha stuff about how I liked the Art and how I thought it was cool and of course maybe it's Ironic to put FOREVER TOGETHER on a buncha former homes that are getting ripped down, but it's still cool to see Art, and then they (my new Fox-45 TV Friends Bryan and Joy) told me the City, your City, My City, Baltimore City, paid the artist, and that's where I decided to be Outraged that my tax dough is going to pay a guy from out of town to come and do Art on some buildings that are getting knocked down, as, I dunno, a Publicity Stunt or Consciousness Raising or some sorta Positive thing, and all I can think about is that bullshit BELIEVE campaign and that bullshit GET IN ON IT campaign, and so I'm like, are you fucking kidding me?
I mean, people make jokes about how to find the "Bad Part" of town, just look for where the murals are, right? Plus, I don't get how a mural is anything but just something nice to look at, you know? I think a lot of artists who want to get up on a wall are fronting like it does something for the Community, and I would be interested in a metric on that beyond the immediate Optics of fresh paint, you know? If you wanna do this stuff, get a Kickstarter or a Go Fund Me or whatever it's called, or have a fucking Bake Sale, but don't use my Tax Money! If this came out of some Donation or specific Grant to the City or something, for Non-Permanent Feelgood Symbols then fine, I'm not kidding, that's cool, but not my Taxes, man!
You're telling me My Baltimore, that I pay for, with every Parking Ticket and Parking Meter That Never Takes My Goddam MasterCard and Property Tax and $350 to pay for the sidewalk that got jackhammered to get at the Water Meter but I gotta pay for the sidewalk to be replaced because it's in front of my fucking castle, that Baltimore, where I live, is paying money out of those Tax Dollars, My motherfucking Tax Dollars (and yours, if you pay them, the taxes, and if you live here in the City), my goddamned Tax Fucking Dollars, and using them to hire artists to paint nebulous non-binding arguably inspirational platitudes on buildings? I mean, sure, what can it hurt, to paint some stuff on a building, and words like FOREVER are nice, I got no problem with that, I like the piece, it's cool! It's Two Stories Tall and a City Block long! Totally fucking awesome, go ahead and go into all the neighborhoods you want and do that shit, if the people in the neighborhood are OK with it, I guess, right? Sure! Ars gratia artis!
Speaking of my fucking Water Meter, did you hear they (and you know who They are, The City That Taxes) wanna charge us (as in you, the Homeowner) $8.49 a month to get insurance for the fixing of the Water Meters, which are connected to the Infrastructure, on account of the company that is fixing, replacing, repairing, and whatevering the Water Meter deal might possibly have an oopsie and break your Infrastructure, and then you'd have to pay probably thousands of dollars for them (Who? The Contractors who might fuck it up in the first place?) to dig up your lawn or whatever and repair the damage to your own personal Baltimore City infrastructure. What the fucking fuck? Why cannot the City get some Insurance for this, as opposed to tens of thousands of Homeowning Tax-Paying Citizens? I looked at this Web site bniajfi.org and there's like 202,387 houses! I think they all use a Water Meter! Nine bucks times that! Jackpot for the Insurance Company! We're gonna use whoevs the City says to Insure us! This looks like a fucking Racket! Of course I'm getting the Insurance! I'm afraid! Extortion! And I'm not harshing on murals! I dig Public Art! But we haz crumbling infrastructure! Spend my Taxes on that! If the City wants to get involved in this Mural stuff, they should, but not by cutting checks! Offer permits, sure, but the rest of it should be Private Sector, as in We The People! Crowdsourced! Opt-in! Not On My House! ¿
> Email Joe MacLeod