"American Zeitgeist." Image from the Inlander.
An unusual form of artwork created something of a stir in the collective awareness of greater Spokane.
The artwork hit my line of sight somewhat abruptly. As I drove southbound on Market Street, I happened to catch a brief glance of John McCain and Barack Obama depicted graffiti-style on a cinderblock wall. From a distance, the image seemed almost three dimensional. The painting jumped from the industrial concrete canvas and compelled me to stop for a closer look.
Soon after, I featured the Obama/McCain piece as a backdrop to a post about politics and religion, though I failed to credit the artist(s).
Then quite unexpectedly, another Gerik piece appeared closer to home, only a couple of blocks from my house. This time I paid closer attention, making sure to notice the artist name.
By chance, the Inlander published an article at about the same time as I noticed the second piece. Based on their report, Gerik is actually a composite name for three anonymous artists working together. The article often referred to them simply as Gerik 1 or Gerik 2. For obvious reasons, they avoid taking credit (or blame) for creating works of art bordering on public defacement.
Indeed, certain sectors of our culture would reject any kind of graffiti-art, especially if the subject matter invites controversy. But if art is the struggle to understand (as attributed to Audrey Foris), then Gerik may very well deepen understanding through our discomfort. Some images may question established assumptions or disturb the status quo, but I count myself among the fans of Gerik. Our public spaces need more inquiry, discussion, and even civil debate as inspired by the artists’ brush.
Check out the artists' Flickr page to see more images.
"American Zeitgeist" appears in a rather awkward location on the edge of Highway 395, near my house.
My only personal connection to the artist(s) is that of an observer and admirer. If any of the artists should happen to find this blog, please know I would LOVE to meet you, respecting your anonymity, of course.