Monday, December 17, 2007

Black and White and Read All Over

In Winnsboro, South Carolina, the seat of Fairfield County, we recently came upon two of our favorite things rolled into one: a mural and a locomotive. We don't pitch from the same mound as a legitimate art critic, but do we admire the creative masking of dull flat walls with clever colorful images. Whether these things are art or craft we couldn't care less. We know what we like.

The artist called Blue Sky gets our vote for the most clever use of color in the stunning "Tunnel Vision" ( other photo ) mural on a wall off Taylor Street in Columbia, SC. This one's in black and white. Looking back at our album of murals we find that they are usually, if not always, in color. We've seen shockingly rich colors, balanced moderate tones, pastels which fairly sink into the pores of brick walls. The use of black painting on a bright white wall is an eye catcher and a new one on us. Not only has the artist sent a painfully drab wall packing, but he's produced an unavoidable message for the South Carolina Railroad Museum. It's such a nice illustration that you're almost grateful that the drab white wall was there in the first place.

One might look down a critical nose at this as little more than technical drawing, but how else would you render a locomotive? If you do it in color or with a cute twisted smiling rubber face then you've got goofy kid stuff. It's like John Wayne riding side saddle. Blasphemy! It is, after all, not just the symbol, but the literal engine of Manifest Destiny in American history. Here it gets dignity consistent with that role while the trailing smoke of copy attracts even the light of heart. A lesser treatment would be not unlike using the odious expression of "choo-choo" before the serious railroad buff. It just isn't done.

So the museum says,"thank you for smoking" and we say thanks for a mural worth driving to see.


Blogger chucker said...

Your photo coming out of the tunnel mural demonstrates that "When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane." LOL (Thanks Stephen Wright.)

11:28 AM  
Blogger Windviel said...

Right you are, Chuck. But for the tunnel, this could be any day on the roads of Charleston County. Unfortunately, we can't even back up or we'd hit the wall..literally. Thanks for stopping by.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Brian the Red said...

No photos of the giant fire hydrant or the hay field mural?

Here I am trying in vain to block both lanes of traffic with my small car: Tunnel

10:28 PM  

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