I followed the rainbow to its end and what did I find? A pot of gold? Aww, Hell NO – Hell 2 Da Naw Naw! I found a KTM. Insert swirly heart-shaped eyes emoji here.
Actually, I saw this mural when I was on my way to visit Calder’s Stegosaurus in Hartford. It kicked off a train of thought that’s nagged me many times over the last year or so. As a result of riding around and just looking at stuff, you draw many conclusions about people and the life that is lived in the places you pass through. Some of the conclusions you arrive at are right, some undoubtedly wrong, and for some maybe the truth is irrelevant.
Anyway, the rainbow mural made me think about how it seems like there is an economic divide that changes the way that neighborhoods or individual homes display art.
In lower-income areas, there’s a more ready acceptance of decorative expression on the exteriors of houses, on porches, in yards and on the sides of buildings. I’m not talking about just haphazard and shitty tagging – I mean people creating something they’re proud of displaying. It could be anything from painted birdhouses, signage, yard art or something that might end up listed on Roadside America. Even if you deem it to be lowbrow, right down to people decorating their houses for holidays.
As you start climbing up the economic ladder, neighborhoods become much more sanitized, more homogenized and manicured to the nth degree. Instead of displaying artwork outside, it moves indoors, moves in to frames or under spotlights and pieces becomes “important.” Occasionally, you’ll see a sculptural piece or a fountain outside but it seems that they’re kind of the exception. When is the last time you saw a blizzard of paper snowflakes or construction paper Valentine hearts taped to the windows of a McMansion?
As we move up the ladder do we lose our ability to love, display and enjoy making beautiful things just because?
Do you find this to be true in your travels?