Like/Dislike with Graham Coreil-Allen, public artist

The life of an artist takes you places far and wide. For 31-year-old Graham Coreil-Allen, it has taken him from Galveston, Texas, to New Orleans and Brooklyn, N.Y., before he ended up in Baltimore.

Coreil-Allen has been focused on his ongoing art series entitled New Public Spaces. His goal is to develop projects that push pedestrian agencies to redesign and find use for under-recognized public spaces within cities and suburbs.

Along with these projects, Coreil-Allen designs public art pieces, such as large-scale hopscotch courts and interactive neighborhood maps. "Whether marking crosswalks for jaywalkers or framing provocative city vistas," said Coreil-Allen, "I always bring a sense of play and critical engagement to public space."

At Artscape (held Friday-Sunday), Coreil-Allen will be presenting HopXcotch Rivalry, a two-person race across two extreme hopscotch courses. This visual art exhibition is one of the many new "Field Day" events that will be occurring along Charles Street.

Before this weekend's huge festival, Coreil-Allen talked with us about his dislike for the movie "Godzilla," his artistic inspirations and more.

Worst pet peeve? Motorists who narrowly pass cyclists at high speeds.

What songs are you loving/hating right now? Loving and hating at the same time: "Jambalaya" by Tim and Eric's "swamp rock" band, Pusswhip Banggang. The animated music video for the song is an absolutely not politically correct interpretation of Creole culture and how to make the famous Cajun dish.

Your worst habit? Shooting off brash emails before rereading them at least three times. Sometimes I wonder how my life might have been different without typos and "regrettable phrasing."

Trend that has exceeded its natural lifespan? Closed political party primaries. As an independent progressive, I am effectively shut out of voting in this Democratic town by nature of my reluctance to join The Party.

Last movie you liked and last you disliked? Liked: Recently I watched "Liberty Heights" for the first time and very much enjoyed recognizing scenes nearby my neighborhood in Northwest Baltimore while also unexpectedly learning about Baltimore's history of racial prejudice against Jewish and African-American minorities. Disliked: "Godzilla." My friend Ryan Patterson put it best: "Why should I care if the action hero catches that kid falling out of the light rail when every time Godzilla turns around his tail he causes another 9/11?"

Favorite and least favorite fashion statement? Favorite: matching family reunion T-shirts in Druid Hill Park. Least favorite: beanies. It's summertime, stop wearing wool knit caps. (Got that SK8RZ?)

Favorite place to get a drink in Batimore? Currently it's sippin' a Naked Burrows in the newly rechristened "Blue Room" at the Crown.

Best advice you ever got? You need nothing to make art. Art can be created even in one's own backyard.

Who are your artistic inspirations? Fugazi, Robert Smithson, the Situationists and the Center for Land Use Interpretation.

Your favorite thing about Baltimore? I still love that "How you doin'?" is a standard greeting of strangers passing on the street.

How would you define art? Art is any creative act that ruptures meaning while adding immeasurable value beyond use or function.


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