I have written on this topic before but now I am readying my pictures for a show at the Paterson Museum. If in the area from 10/1 - 11/15, please take a look if you can.
I was in school in NYC when graffiti stopped being an occasional annoyance and became instead a monster, with the entire subway system and much of New York’s public spaces defaced by “tags.” Yet the tags were intriguing. When riding in a bombed subway car, I watched in fascination as we passed stations that were like living cartoons. It was both terrible and wonderful to the eye.
I hadn’t expected graffiti when I wandered into the old ATP site to photograph the Colt Gun Mill. I found the ruin, but I also found an astonishing collection of tags and such. The site itself had been long abandoned and I pass no judgement on those who decided that here, they would be free to make their mark.
I look forward to when the ATP* site is restored to allow visitors to the Great Falls to enjoy our history, but it as it is restored, these glorious marks will pass into history.
*The ATP site is the old Allied Textile Printing site that was destroyed in a series of fires in the 1980s. It contains some of the oldest ruins in Paterson including the ruins of the mill where the first Colt Revolver was manufactured. The Colt family was from Connecticut but they made their mark in Paterson too.
The techniques of Graffiti artists have been incorporated into the world of public art and many of the mural makers are counted as graffiti artists. Since words are flexible then so be it. But I see a difference between working in a place where you are allowed to be there, and the illicit work done here in a site that is chained off. (But easy to break into).
The old Colt Gun Mill:
Then I encountered the rest: