Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Become your dream and all the crap

 Every week, around trash day, or all the time when it snows, and the garbage collectors don't come, I'm subjected to this crap, or motivational message, or graffiti, or ART as some people call it. I live on the Upper East Side, and someone has run rampant with this pithy little saying, and writes it all over whatever discarded furniture/large box/piece of junk they can find. It's been getting on my nerves for a while now, and so I finally did a little googling.
Apparently, the mantra is attributed to James De La Vega, an artist who lives in Soho, but has worked in NYC, Paris, Italy, and Tokyo (thanks Wikipedia!). Though with the frequency of his message in my hood, I'm not entirely convinced that he hasn't relocated to the slightly less artsy locale of the UES, and just hasn't told his hipster friends yet.

Vega is well known for his semi-permanent art. He does chalk murals, and other "art" that technically (and by technically I mean legally) classifies as graffiti around NYC. He also has a store/museum on St. Marks where he peddles his wares in the form of small drawings, and reproductions of art on coffee mugs and the like.
De La Vega doesn't take credit for every sighting of his signature phrase on the UES, but uses its prominence to insist that he has started a movement, that people are looking at trash in a different light. In other words, it's not just useless garbage, it's a form of artistic communication.
Personally? My interpretation of this expression? I find it annoying.

And every time I see that stupid little fish, I wonder. What's with the fish, is it a Jesus Fish? Is De La Vega really really religious? Am I swimming in the sea of life towards my dreams? Then I wonder, was this the best the guy could come up with? A less interesting version of Thoreau's, "Live the life you've imagined" quote? Why is this guy I don't even know bossing me around?

The constant vision of trash written on in permanent marker doesn't brighten my day. It makes me think, MAN, someone ruined a piece of furniture that otherwise someone else may have taken home and re-purposed. It makes me think, GEEZ I really wish they would collect the trash more often. It makes me wonder, who has the time to run around writing on trash? And lastly, it just gets on my nerves.

Generally people who are ambitious, and going after their life goals, aka dreams, are taking forward steps and moving towards achieving them. That's probably a big part of the reason they live in NYC. They're not just aimlessly meandering the streets, looking for a sign from a mysterious bandit armed with a writing utensil to point them in the right direction. I'm just saying.


Queen Anne said...

Bah humbug!

matthew said...

You say, "It makes me think, MAN, someone ruined a piece of furniture that otherwise someone else may have taken home and re-purposed." My friend grabbed one of James' tagged file cabinets from a certain dump and is now using it in his home only because of the art. I'm sure you're not the only one who finds his work annoying, but there are plenty folks whose day is brightened by these expressions


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