You can see all this artwork from the window of the subway car. But standing in the laneway looking up at it is a completely different experience. The images soar. The colors war and wrestle, bleed past the limits of vision.
To an English prof the 3-D lettering screams defiance: you cannot read this! You will never understand!
I feel way out of my depth, artistically and otherwise: having squirmed through a hole in the construction fence I’m nervous of trespassing charges, and I’m not super comfortable about the broken glass everywhere, either.
But a main character in my book is a graffiti artist. He stencils an enormous mural across the wall of his school. Walking the length of this gallery turns out to be research that helps bring home my character’s motivation for me. It’s not just mischief or rebellion. It’s conquering a height. It’s making a mark everyone will see, and no one will ignore. And love it or hate it, you can’t deny it’s thrilling–especially up close.