Thursday, June 21, 2012

Exploring Layers of Urban Imagery

Judy Coates Perez here, I am a random sketchbook person. I admit to falling out of the habit of drawing on a regular basis and know I should do more. I am happy to say my ex and I have raised a daughter who never leaves the house with out some form of sketchbook with her though.

I use my 'sketchbooks' as a place for inspiration, filling them with not only drawings but also photos and things I find interesting. Now that I use so much technology (computers, iphones and tablets) my definition of sketchbook has stretched to include drawing apps and collections of photo imagery that I use as inspiration when painting.

I love this theme of Urban Sketching, I know I could spend months exploring this topic. I'm going to do something a little different today and share a recent photo safari to an area just west of my neighborhood in Chicago, underneath the Metra train tracks, to see another take on 'urban sketching' by artists who 'draw' with a can of spray paint.

I like how this graffiti artist worked with the structure of the staggered block wall.

I am particularly entranced by the layering of type and imagery that create such beautiful complex images when cropped.

It's this kind of layering of imagery that I have been exploring for the last couple years with my painting.

 These ones were really pretty with metallic bronze paint.
A discarded metal tree sculpture added another point of interest.

The massive chandelier was another interesting addition to this urban space. It's probably about 8 feet across with silk flowers entwined around it. I could do a whole other post about layers of rusty decay from this excursion.
I know this was a bit of a deviation from the usual sketchbook post, but I hope you find it inspiring and another way to look at artistic beauty hidden in plain site.


  1. Awesome, more graffiti to look at. I don't see this kind of thing where I live so I usually have to see it in photos. When I am visiting a city, my eyes tend to seek out these colorful paintings.

  2. This post is right up my alley (no pun intended). There is great beauty in decayed and decaying surfaces, whether ancient or contemporary. There's also a great deal of creativity, color and texture to be found in graffiti. As long as it decorates abandoned buildings instead of defacing public and private property, it can add character and a sense of life to its surroundings.

  3. Simply inspiring!!. Graffiti art always have happy colors, I'm beginning to see them as beautiful art ... been making pages on graffiti art too. Hugs.

  4. I love that you looked at this month's challenge in this way Judy! It truly is "urban sketching" at it's base form. The graffiti artists use public surfaces as their sketchbook. I am always amazed at the pure talent that is exhibited.

  5. Great post, Judy! The photos of the graffiti is inspiring. I lived near Los Angeles and see this artwork everyday.

  6. This graffiti is so cool. I love the bright colors. I have a huge photo file of graffiti. It is something I try to find when I travel because it seems to have a very different aesthetic from place to place.


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