In preparation for this week’s throw up thursday, I went hunting in the 14th street area between N & up to U street (Google Map tracking coming soon!). If you’ve frequented this area you can see the sort of immediate disintegration of building quality and rise in homelessness starting at 14th and moving into 13th and on. U and 14th is the site of much of the ’68 Washington DC riots:
photo courtesy of justindc
justindc has a great Flickr set with some great information and shots of this time period. Anyway, the result is that as the city is pushing to expand areas of high traffic, like the recent gentrification of Columbia Heights and 8th street, you get these concentrated areas of high graffiti and street art density, while literally one street over the alleyways and traffic boxes are buffed and completely clean.
This week’s watch is for Artuare, a really prolific wheatpaster that has been doing renditions of this portrait all over the 14th, U st., and Dupont areas:
I love the diversity of composition and the sort of afro-centric, Victorian portrait style of these pieces. However, the bowler hat and the garb perhaps point to a more proletariat figure… all speculation of course. The regality of the subject perspective, particularly when placed in an outdoor medium creates a really interesting juxtaposition between the grittiness of the environment and the proud, stalwart imagery… haha so deep, I know.
As always, keep tabs on the DC Watch Flickrs, and we welcome any personal shots!