Providence Graffiti : a collection

(Originally completed on July 22, 2014. Retroactively published on September 1, 2016.)

It’s been six months since I started making an effort to share and catalogue the graffiti I see around Providence. Going through and actually figuring out what I’ve photographed since last December shows exactly how selective the process of sharing it can be. Some of them, I’ve photographed and posted elsewhere, some I’ve photographed and it’s sitting unlabeled and, for all purposes, forgotten, on a hard drive or SD card. But this is what I’ve posted to social media. This is the stuff that was striking enough, odd enough, and, in a way, carelessly enough catalogued to make it onto Instagram.

I only post to Instagram from my phone, I do my best to geotag everything that is worth a visit by someone else, for which street art, whether in spray paint, sticker or other format, definitely qualifies. Geotagging also helps create a physical record (to the best of my phone’s feeble GPS capabilities) of where this art work resides or as is often the case, once resided.

Rlyeh: the home where Cthulu sleeps. The absolute ingenuity of this tag in Providence has made me happy absolutely every single time I’ve seen it. I’m, over all, not super fond of tagging as a practice because it feels juvenile to write the same thing 15 times on the same block (we get it. you were here. even though we don’t know who you are). But this one set me off to document our Providence street art in greater detail.

This ant did not start it’s life on a sticker: I first saw it as a paste on poster or as a stencil spray painted on the ground (I’m having trouble remembering exactly which one). It also did not just stick to one part of the city, I saw it on the East Side and near the Gano St. highway exit. Probably 2 years ago.

I liked the combination of the little girl carrying the weapon and “IRL Facebook is boring” — although they are not technically the same sticker, they appear to be a pair. This instance is from Wickenden street, but they also appear up on Waterman, and a free paper box that got pulled from the streets and sits next to the door of the building housing Motif has “IRL Facebook is Boring” on it as well.

I am particularly fond of the art on this one. I wish the artist would make more of an appearance, but I might also have missed them by a little bit, since it could come from any manner of quarter of college student, and they could have been transitioning either to or from Providence. It’s gorgeous and a break from a lot of the more sarcastic, ironic, or otherwise knowing stuff we get (as is befitting of street commentary).

This is one of those instances where this is one of the records of something that no longer exits. This sticker went the way of the pay phone it was attached to. It suffered a rather ignominious death, and eventually disappeared from next to the Hope & Doyle RIPTA stop, outside the Y. The art itself remains pretty inscrutable, all the same.

I feel like this sticker is a lazy-man’s tag. But it also fits into a carefully defined slot that exists in the Providence sticker scene: advertising. The guerilla advertising movement is alive and well, with stickers appearing on the fronts and backs of all kinds of signs to raise awareness for everything from food trucks, to bands, to restaurants and cafes, or even people’s personal brands: touting their website so you can check out their cool design abilities.

big robot sticker

My mother firmly believes that this is not a misspelling of “Engels” as in “Fridrick Engels”



politics on the street



selena gomez

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