Thaddeus Hunt is a web development guy by day, but a writer since childhood. Already with numerous great publishing credits by his name, we were delighted he was willing to share this piece with the Clarion Content audience.
Street Art like us
by: Thaddeus Hunt
The first time I was thoroughly moved by a piece of art wasn’t in a gallery or a museum; it was in an open field, staring at the end of an abandoned building.
A friend and I were scouting locations for a horror screenplay we had just finished writing together. He knew of a few good spots in Wake Forest, NC, so I made the trip out and met him there on a Saturday morning. One particular scene required a location that looked apocalyptic and decayed, so we drove to an abandoned factory on the edge of town. Gutted factories always have a brilliant amount of cracked concrete, rust, shattered brick, mortar and glass… this one was no different.
The location was huge, so we decided to check it all out by splitting up.
“Yell if you see something good,” he said.
“You do the same,” I said over my shoulder, departing in the opposite direction.
I made my way down the length of the building, dipping in and out of doorways, taking pictures of the old abandoned shipping docks. It was hard not to imagine everything that happened here at some point. Now all there seemed to be were ghosts dancing in dust-strewn sunbeams that shot through broken windows.
When I got to the end of the building I rounded the corner expecting to double back to the car, when something caught my eye and then my breath. There in front of me I saw what looked like a gigantic sticker that was easily as tall as I was, stuck on the left-hand side of the brick wall.
The bizarre imagery, the style, it’s vibrancy, it’s location… it generated an undeniable energy inside of me. My heart beat fast with that rush. You know the feeling. Those moments when you stumble upon something secret, but waiting. Like it was something I was meant to find.
In those brief moments. It feels like the discovery is yours and yours alone.
It’s not of course, but almost immediately I got addicted to that illusion. To that moment of genuine discovery. Where all you can do is stand there and admire something’s innate beauty, it’s message and it’s hidden nature. It was the first time I truly connected with a piece of art. The fact that it wasn’t framed in a room with sanitary white walls, surrounded by well-dressed, wine-sipping people and their opinions – without that “noise” polluting my experience – made the moment all the more organic and acute.
And it was that moment, in an abandoned industrial field on a breezy winter day, I fell unabashedly in love with street art. All I could do was smile. Smile not only at the scene in front of me, but also at the oddity that it took me well into my thirty’s, to finally get it.
A year later, my wife and I moved from the suburbs to downtown Durham, NC. Almost immediately, I found a street art scene that felt different from other cities I’d visited. There was a narrative forming and I loved it’s bizarre nature as well as it’s apparent intimacy. Like any city, pieces would be there one week, only to disappear the next or quickly replaced with something new.
Month to month, the city wrote it’s story, making edits, deleting bits, adding pages in new places, always creating – always, always making me stop and read it’s walls. Some of it is words or poetry, some of it’s slaps, some it’s stencils or Sharpie-ed freehand… all of it temporary in construct, but much more lasting in memory.
In much the same way that I found that first wheat-pasted piece in Wake Forest, I also found it’s creator completely by chance. He was a Greensboro native by the name of Mathew Curran. I reached out to him at one point through the usual social media channels and told him how I happened upon his work years ago and how it affected me. He was incredibly kind and grateful that I got a shot of it “before the weather took it away.”
I loved hearing this from Mat and how he saw the temporary nature of his art much the way that I did. In the end, for me anyway, it’s that very nature that elevates these tiny and sometimes HUGE urban murals to something much more poignant. That the artist is creating moments in time and not hermetically sealed relics. I personally find a kinship in the discovery of each of these moments and to the art itself.
They are temporary and beautiful, just like every one of us.
Check out Thaddeus Hunt’s website here.
Follow him on Twitter here.