August 16th, 2010

Houston Street Art: The Wheat Pastes

In trying to decide how to break this all up and put it together, there was a bit of debate. Would the best way to account for Houston’s scene be to classify it by medium, neighborhood or just give a play-by-play of each hunt? There’s no right answer, but a decision had to be made. The photos will take some of the steam away from the words below, but I’ll fill in the gaps with the names, places and other information that I’ve come across in my month-long adventure.


So far, I’ve come across work by Soti, Garro, Shreddi, 2:12, Eyesore, Dual and Give Up. That’s not to say I know right away which artist I’m photographing each time I pull my car over and unsheathe my camera. I’ve studied and sifted through photos and dormant websites for the last thirty days. I’d estimate, I’ve probably spent about 50 hours trying to get through all of the material to match artists to their work since our first article. Shreddi (above) makes it easy [corner of 6th and Studemont].


2:12 is also pretty easy to spot around town. He doesn’t have too many pieces up, but they’re unique enough to stand out. This one, on the side of The (defunct?) Drake [Silver Street just off Washington] is actually just across the street from another piece.


The above, now defaced work or “capped,” work is right next to another. Some walls garner the favor of multiple artists. This isn’t to say that our guerrilla posters travel in packs posting together on purpose (sometimes they do), but most of the time a good spot is just a good spot.


Let’s face it. Gluing something right beneath a “No Posting” warning is street justice for not caring enough about your building to keep up daily maintenance (or daily business). Dual is an artist that I haven’t seen captured enough. Before I started this little obsession of mine, I knew his name along with Give Up and that was it. Speaking of which, I don’t have too many photos of Give Up either.


While we’re on the subject of more than one person recognizing a good thing, this piece by 2:12 has passed the test of time as well as the patience of the tenant. In fact, the owners of the building painted the outside and left the artwork for all to enjoy aiming their brushes and rollers away from the lady with fan [Yale South of 16th St].


Head even further South on Yale and you’ll find another great spot. The pills on the left are the work of Garro – I learned this from o texano, whom has been an invaluable resource in my quest (and always seems about two days in front of me, even when I think I have the inside scoop). On the right is Give Up’s “Virtue Ruins Beauty” which is the only piece that I have photographed [12th and Yale].


At the same location, this piece by Shreddi is posted. Like I said, he makes it easy. There isn’t any guess work involved. “Shreddi” emblazoned on a dollar bill is enough of a clue, especially for the ignorant, like me. This one was almost completely off the wall, so my accomplice or “research assistant” did me the favor of holding it up. We are throwing around creating a graffiti preservation society: Good natured fans dedicated to repasting the wheat pastes. Then again, I’ve also considered just taking the unglued work for my own decorations…


While we’re still at this location at 12th and Yale, let’s not forget the anonymous (even though it’s not a wheat paste). What’s the question on everyone’s mind? “Why?” is asked by this artist in pencil. This photo was one that I just knew was going to turn out well. The wall, the detail, the rust, the plethora of different surfaces… What can I say? I’m a sucker for the distressed look. But, why?


Going down Yale Street a little further [6th and Yale], you will come across the white bricked, electric station right next to the 6th & Yale Auto Repair Center. You’ll know it by the car hoisted into the air on a pole. Pictured is Garro’s “Kraken v. Submarine.” On the same structure you can find a piece by Coolidge, but that’s a stencil and we will cover those later.


The Kraken must be hungry, because he (or is it a she?) is going after a whale in this piece. Garro certainly has a thing for the dramatic. From pills to mosquitoes to skulls on stakes, he covers a lot of ground. The above photo is on a wall that is very much covered ground [Summer Street between White and Henderson].


First off, forgive the difference in color between the last two photos. I couldn’t decide which levels looked best in the editing bay. Here is Shreddi (whom really seems like he’s the glue of this photo essay) on the same wall. Also, Coolidge as well as Yar! have made their mark here [Summer Street between White and Henderson], but like I said, that’s for another day.


Just to show you the shelf life – which I suppose is more of a “wall life” than shelf related – here is the same piece two weeks later starting to peal from its spot. The “Kraken v. Whale” was nearly completely removed from its location… Not that I was tempted to peel it and take it home (which is much more admirable than defacing the work entirely).


We’ll end our little tour today back in the Heights (not that we left it too far in our review mirror) with a spot that multiple artists have found a canvas. Above you see the work of Eyesore – yet again pointed out by o texano – on a building that was being refinished as of Saturday [Pecore, East of Studemont]. This corner is a place I’m always checking out, mostly because of these vacant buildings and I happened to recognize it in footage from Pr!mo’s Stick ‘Em Up teaser.


And our final photo, one more of Garro’s Pills with the sun shining down as I close the shades on this edition of Houston Street Art.

Have a look at the high res, uncropped originals in our Flickr set.

Submit your own to The Loop Scoop Photogs group.

And, especially, enjoy your drives, walks and bike rides around town.

— Paul


Cassi — Monday, August 16, 2010 6:51 pm

Enjoying your new found obsession. Keep it up.

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