Thursday, October 12, 2006

Another Rustic Struggling Country Library?


No, not really, not another library and not a real building at all. This is yet another in series of larger than life murals. We've given up calling them "frescos" which seems the proper name and have surrendered to "murals" which seems the popular choice.

We don't know who painted this very detailed and realistic mural, but we certainly do admire the work of this outdoor artist. We don't know how much or whether the artist was paid nor the motivation for taking on such a job. We're grateful that it was undertaken.

We often link these massive murals of sundry topic and design with what we think of as the original. In 1975 the artist Blue Sky painted his famous "TUNNEL VISION" on a large blank concrete wall off of Taylor Street in Columbia, SC. It was stunning not only in it's breathtaking attention to detail, but in it's very idea. The concept of taking barren flat commercial space and making a thing of beauty in full public view was wildly new. There was no public outcry to subdue flat, bland, masonry spaces, no letters to the editor demanding these murals simply because nobody had thought to do one.

As we run the length and breadth of South Carolina and neighbor states, we keep an eye out for these murals. Sometimes they are commercial in nature or depict actual historical event or are satirical or ironic in their impact. Often they just are. We like to think of this trend as a recycling of sorts. It's a taking of something structurally useful, but esthetically inert and creating a visual wonder. With no point in pulling down the ugly wall, someone has made it pleasing. When construction throws you lemons, some make lemonade.

More power to those who encourage and paint these priceless reprieves from the barren and the boring streetscapes. More power to those who light those candles rather than curse the darkness.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've often wondered if Tunnel Vision was really as striking as I remember it, or if my perception was overly enhanced by the substance I was smoking at the time.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Windviel said...

Well, you're right on both counts. If those were of the unfiltered variety, the sun never set on "Tunnel Vision". Since it was painted in 1975 the elements would tend to revoke some of the luster so it seems to have been touched up a bit in more recent times. Perhaps we are seeing more clearly these days without all that haze.

Thanks for the comment.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Ellen said...

Indeed, Tunnel Vision has been retouched since its inception, at least twice that I'm aware.

The artist, Blue Sky (or Warren Johnson as earlier known, repainted the mural in the late '80s. Then he added an American Bald Eagle to the uppermost edge.

Recently Mr. Sky repainted again. If memory serves, the eagle is no more. And there are now wooden support structures added to the rocks.

Aside to anonymous - no matter what you were smoking - Yes. It really IS that striking.

12:24 AM  
Blogger Windviel said...

Thanks again, Ellen and thanks also for providing the actual or previous name of the artist.

We remember when it first appeared and we feel now as then that it is the most striking mural that we have seen to date in South Carolina.

Someone's always touting some "gift" to the community, but this is a genuine gift to all who pass that way.

12:38 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home