If you’ve been to Ann Arbor, you’ve likely been to the famous graffiti alley on East Liberty Street. Being at home in Chicago this semester, I’ve missed spending time in that alley, studying the new art and pondering what lies beneath the layers of spray paint. But Chicago is no stranger to murals and graffiti. I set out with the intention to shoot the famous murals along West Hubbard Street in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, all of which are pieces of art that had been commissioned at one point or another. What ended up drawing my eye was not the large artistic display; underneath the “L” train tracks on West Hubbard, the concrete walls are covered in smaller displays of graffiti and other drawings. The contrast between professional and ammature art seems to effortlessly highlight the unique artistic community in Chicago. Shortly afterward, I came across an abandoned warehouse covered top to bottom in graffiti, a perfect representation of the city’s past in conversation with its present. After my little adventure, I’ve come to realize that, though graffiti is often painted in a negative light, it can be just as awe inspiring as murals that may have taken weeks to complete. Individual expressions of art, while in contrast with the sleek shine of most Chicago buildings, make the city what it is: something I’ve come to love.
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