12 January 2016

Off the Map Art

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When we started mapping and cataloging public art we elected to not include graffiti. We did not want to glorify or promote it. For every cool, artistic, interesting piece of graffiti there are hundreds of tacky, crude, destructive examples. Occasionally it was hard to ignore the ones that showed obvious artistic talent.

We had been told about a great area of classic Pittsburgh graffiti art by someone we met while photographing the Spak Bros mural in Garfield. This man told us that if we wanted to see art done by some of the best local graffiti artists from years past that we should ride down Gold Way to Melwood Ave underneath the Bloomfield Bridge. We decided to check it out even if we didn't want to include it on the map. On our way there, we accidentally discovered Iron Eden. I'd heard of it, but had never been to their studio before. We looked up and saw these cool colored glass spheres looking like planets from a Star Trek episode and we immediately stopped to see what they were.

"Astrolabs" by Iron Eden
4001 Lorigan St
Pittsburgh, Pa 15224

OK, they aren't technically murals or public art, but they were cool, they were art, anyone passing by can see them, and the guys working there were very gracious and let us look around so I'm including them here.

The spheres are only one of many cool, interesting creations here. There were awesome railings, gates, and some industrial style furniture pieces being made. After we thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the iron works, we were back on the bikes and on our way to our original destination - the street art on the opposite side of the railroad tracks. As you arrive at the area beneath the bridge, the first thing on the south side of the road that catches your attention is the notice that you're now on Polish Hill. Behind that there are four large support walls and the concrete 'floor' between those bridge supports that are well covered with images.

We decided to show this one image, which was on the opposite side of the street (on one of the lower bridge supports). It caught my eye right away and it made the trip to Randyland the next day even more interesting.

To nite there are no D.R.E.A.M.S

When I first saw it I felt a deep and immediate sadness. A relatively simply done image among the usual bright colors and overlapping messages. We've seen a lot of murals on this project and we regularly ride by a lot of street art, but few have had the emotional impact on me that this simple bit of graffiti did. I wanted to cry at the feeling of despair that hit me. Everyone should have dreams.

The day after finding this we visited Randyland and Randy pointed out his tower of dreams. It was all the more uplifting after seeing this.

The other item we want to share here is not your usual graffiti. We found this guy attached to a concrete pillar:

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