Exploring Graffiti Spaces

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Over the weekend, I decided to explore spaces that had been used for graffiti purposes. The area I chose to explore was Little Village, which is the community I grew up in. Little Village is located on the South Side of Chicago. It is a marginalized community with predominantly Mexican and Mexican American residents. It is known for having high crime rates, prostitution, and low-levels of education. With that said, a vast majority of the graffiti that I found was based on issues within the community or reflected a sense of the Mexican culture.

In total I found 9 graffiti art pieces. Most of these pieces were found in dumpsters, garages, alley walls and advertising sites. Based on these pieces, I decided to do an analysis on the art pieces that stood out to me the most (see below for lineup). The first is a an art piece of an ice cream cone with ice cream dripping down the cone, while their is a lit bombed on top of the ice cream ball. I saw this as a metaphor that reflects the effects of weather changes. Meaning to say that as the weather rises or the summer approaches(ice cream dripping), so do the crime shootings (bomb). In other words known as “the block gets hot.” Other graffiti stencils include famous legends like Frida Kahlo and Chalino Sanchez. Both have played an important role in the Mexican culture. Next, I found a stencil of a Jesus Christ Crucifix. I thought this could be related to Easter Sunday and the prominence of religion (particularly catholicism) in Mexican communities. Lastly, I found two pieces that most resonated with the war on drugs. The war on drugs is a vital problem occurring in Mexico. However, it has also become a problem in the Little Village community as many of the distributors of these Mexican cartels manifest their activities in Little Village. We see this through the art as well. One of the stencils I found was that of Jesus Vicente Zambada also known as “El Vicentillo” who is one of the leading drug traffickers in the Sinaloa Cartel. In relation, I also found a stencil of a little boy hold a rifle. I believed this could reflect the high number of youth that are getting involved in the drug cartels at very young ages. The last two art pieces I found were cartoon characters such as Ninja Turtles and Winnie The Pooh.

 

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