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On Writing, Visual Perspectives

Art & a Sense of Humor #WATWB

3 Sep , 2018  

The Accidental Grafitti Artist


Better late than never, right, @DamyantiWrites

This video not only tickled my funnybone, because I’m a fan of good street art and see it as a way to combat the merely ugly, or territorial sort of graffiti and random, stealth profanity that lies like litter under most urban bridges, but also because I can relate to the artist’s momentary embarrassment over the whole thing.

Many years ago, when I was a young teen, I loved to frequent Bob’s Deli, located (once upon a time) in Bellaire Plaza, in Daytona Beach, Florida. They had napkin holders on every table, and in addition to making the BEST non-Kosher-approved “Toasted Bagel with Cream Cheese, Lettuce, and Tomato with a side of Burnt Bacon” (my own invention, which they perfected and no one’s beat to this day), my biggest delight in going there was scribbling on the napkins. Poetry, unicorns, and castles were frequent features of my primitive artistic urges. 

Until the day I learned of the art gallery in the kitchen. 

I’d always assumed my silly, half-finished creations – intimate, random glimpses into my imagination – were destined for the large garbage bin out back. Not taped to a wall in the kitchen. 

I should have been (and now, older and wiser, I am) flattered. I was appalled. I was horrified. I started to obliterate my art by wadding it up and dousing it in bacon grease or runny egg yolks. The young man who’d told me of the “gallery” looked sad, as I began to avoid impromptu scribblings in the diner, altogether. 

I would tell my younger self to stop being an idiot, and to appreciate the people who enjoy whatever silliness you cook up (or art, or literature – but let’s not even bother to call it that and add pressure or stress). To share your imagination is both an obligation and a gift, and the day you stop is the day it begins to shrivel. Not from the rejection of others, but from the rejection of its owner. YOU

So, yay for playful wombats and other stealthy, random acts of art and originality, whether they lurk beneath a bridge or on a paper napkin stained with a bit of bacon grease. 




Featured Photo Credit: 

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14 Responses

  1. Wow! I bet those napkins would fetch a pretty penny on eBay. Seriously, though, I agree with your sentiment about honoring your imagination. I guess that’s why I’ll never stop horsing around on CCC. Sometimes, I’m the only one there, but it’s still so much fun to create something from ten random words.

    I don’t suppose you ever took snapshots of your napkins? That would be a treat!


    Mitchell Allen recently posted…Pandora’s PillboxMy Profile

  2. Peter Wright says:

    Good to see you back in action and taking your own advice about spreading your art around once more.

    You never know, perhaps the guy in the diner kept all your napkin art, put it in a box and then a storage facility where it remained. One day it might appear at an auction for unclaimed contents of a storage facility.

    Then you might be revealed as the napkin artist equivalent of the photographer Vivian Maier – unknown and unrecognized until after her death

    • Isn’t that an intriguing, yet frightening, idea – that those things might some day surface? I think cheap paper napkins are probably biodegradable, but you never know. He might have kept them in a box, somewhere. That was the same guy that almost (to his own absolute horror) tricked me into impaling my hand on one of those receipt sticks by putting his own over it and asking me to give him five. Fortunately for us both, he caught my wrist mid-air.

      I have a friend who started a Facebook Group called “Don’t Be Selfish, Share Your Art with the World” (clever man, he’s promoting his book by the same name!) – seems like the universe was conspiring, lately, to inspire. So I just applied butt to chair, gave in to the urge to procrastinate (provided it was productive procrastination in some form, and not just idly surfing the web) and the writing finally started to happen.
      Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Geek Out Down the Rabbit Hole #MyOldNemesisAlexaMy Profile

  3. rummuser says:

    A great story Holly. I enjoyed the video and the text. Thank you.
    rummuser recently posted…An Unexpected Gift – 2.My Profile

  4. Damyanti says:

    We’re all so much wiser with age–so happy to have you share your talent with us, Holly, if you will. I enjoy your humor and geekiness in our group.

    As to WATWB, absolutely, late is better than never–unofficially we mark a Yes to anyone who posts by the next Friday, so actually, you’re not late at all. The blogfest is about kindness, so no point in hosting it unless we practice it ourselves 🙂

    Hugs, and thanks for being you. hope to read more of you in this space, and thanks for dropping by my blog!

  5. Rajlakshmi says:

    Loved those encouraging words and advice. Sharing art makes many apprehensive for the fear of criticism … but yes, we should share them. Enjoyed the video.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Fiction: The Impetuous WeddingMy Profile

  6. BellyBytes says:

    What a wonderful story that was. Brought a smile to my face for sure. Sometimes graffiti can be fun thought I often find the art disturbing….. But I can only imagine how embarrassed you must have been to see your scribblings looking down at you!

    • Good art (and writing) are evocative. Provocative. Delightful and disturbing, by turns. What I find disturbing about grafitti is when it is merely territorial – aggressive tagging, ugly blight, worse-looking, even, than crumbling concrete surrounding it. But when it adds color to the drab, or makes you stop and think (like Banksy’s art), it CAN be a delightful form of public expression. (Arguably, the cleaning of it gives meaningful occupation to paid workers. But let’s leave that debate for another time – I’m not sure if that outweighs the anarchy of it all.) It appeals to our rebellious and mischievous sides – if it’s GOOD (and I include much of the “disturbing” in that, although it should be disturbing in a publicly appropriate, we’re-not-out-to-scare-small-children-on-the-way-to-school sort of way) we can give it a little fist-bump of solidarity as we pass, even if we’re not QUITE ready to grab a can of spray paint and go at it, ourselves. Isn’t all art just a little way of leaving a mark on the world – to say “I was here” along with whatever other messages our work conveys?

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