Urban Art

Humans have been painting on walls for 40,000 years [is it time for a second look]?

In my first written post, I wanted to address the widespread contempt for street painting. Since I first began photographing painted surfaces on the street I’ve been aware of the disdain many feel for it… it’s an eyesore, a defacement of private property, a public nuisance, etc., etc.. But we humans have been painting on walls — first in caves and later on the walls of our towns — for thousands of years. In fact, cave paintings have been found on every continent dating back 40,000 years. Graffiti was found in the ruins of Pompeii, buried by volcanic ash, in 79AD. Which means we’ve been painting on walls thousands of years longer than we’ve been writing. The human impulse to self-express through painting is as innate as singing, dancing, and story-telling. And the proof is right there — right on the walls! Needless to say, I fall in the pro-painting camp. But more on the 40,000 year history of street painting in future posts…

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