Some of the art within 924 Gilman has political overtones and some are purely artistic. The bathroom walls are also a canvas covered in many layers of tags, some readable, others in the style that only other taggers will understand. This project documents the multitude of wall art that has become a fixture of this venue. The goal is to create a visual experience via photo catalogue of the various artworks deemed important by the Gilman community, curated with the assistance and support of the Gilman community.
When one of our team members visited the venue and commented on the new graffiti, he was immediately invited to add his own. Ethos and ephemerality are the big focus here. Having a place that not only allows but actively encourages wall art and graffiti inside is a major part of the idea behind Gilman. It’s “everyone’s place.” People express themselves through visual art just as others express themselves through music, both are done within the rules of the venue (no racist, sexist, or homophobic art or music, for example). However, nothing lasts forever. This project will create a snapshot in time of the art of 924 Gilman Street circa November 2015. One can compare the art seen before and after this period of time. Some may be painted over, others may still be there.
Any audience can interact with this project. While the punk community in and out of Gilman may see these artworks in person, we may catch something they miss. For the other audiences who may not ever set foot in Gilman, this project is their window into the inside of this venue. The artwork contributes to the sustainability of 924 Gilman by representing the memories that have been collected over the last few decades. Much of the art found layering the walls of 924 Gilman are the result of art shows presented by the venue. Some of the murals, such as the naked lady with hairy legs, represent longevity and resilience.
(The Gilman “naked lady” resides in a corner of the venue. Note the tags beginning to accumulate. Photo by Silas Jones.)
(A collection of art. At the top is a long lasting political piece, contrasting a starving African boy with a McDonald’s logo. Photo by Silas Jones.)
Our documentation and research of 924 Gilman has allowed us the opportunity to present these artists creative ideas for others to enjoy as true art and not vandalism. According to an informant, the art within the venue is very much alive and constantly changes as the community changes, and there is no one way to classify 924 Gilman because of these changes.