Thug Life

This past Friday while on my way to procure some suds for the upcoming weekend camping trip, I noticed this piece of street art and social commentary in the outskirts of Capitol Hill. Four of these black and white illustrations, presumably commenting on the recent investigations into the actions of the Denver Police Department, were plastered on the stairway of the pedestrian bridge which crosses the intersection of 13th Avenue and Emerson. Regardless of my opinion regarding the incidents that occurred in March and April and whether I agree with the assertion the artist is making or not, I appreciate the statement of opinion in a venue that causes those who encounter the work to question the circumstances at hand.

Art exhibited in the public sphere presented with or without permission and created with a message, concept and intent, especially when the objective calls into question social issues or current events, is a welcomed interjection to the visual landscape. Our surroundings are becoming more and more homogenized dominated by marginal architecture and crappy advertisements containing mindless messages, set with shitty typography and boring stock photographs trying to sell me something I do not need or want, thus, the occasional subversion is refreshing to encounter. While many cringe at street art and how it “defaces” public property, at least when it is executed with concept in mind and thoughtfulness it forces the viewer to question the world around them. I’d much rather look at this piece instead of another Bud-Light billboard. Furthermore, I wonder if those against this genre question, opening or inwardly, the bombardment of advertising they encounter on a daily basis and its subsequent impact on our lives? Sadly, they probably don’t.