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Unexpected Graffiti Archivist!

January 31, 2006

Ed Hay may spend most of his time cleaning up graffiti from the railway cars for the CN. But, for the past six years during his “break time” he has taken pictures of what he considers to be some of the best pieces–before he paints over them! By his own count he now his over 300 pictures, and some of his favorites will be on display at the Graffiti Gallery in Manitoba. Though Mr. Hay admits that the CN would probably “frown” on his contributions, he contends, along with the artistic director of the gallery Pat Lazo, that the work “shows the importance of having legal places for graffiti artists to work.”
The Graffiti Gallery is no stranger to the controversies that inevitabley follow any efforts to frame graffiti outside of the mainstream context of illegality and property damage. In its own words, the Gallery has been “using art as a tool for community, social, economic and individual growth.” Started by Steve Wilson seven years ago, it has been navigating the awkward problems of legitimizing graffiti without alienating the graffiti writing community. And, its come a long way, now operating as a non-profit organization, it offers a diverse set of educational programs and holds various shows and exhibitions. Not to mention, it has helped to invigorate the creation of numerous murals in the surrounding area, which have helped to blur the lines between graffiti “vandalism” and “art”.
For more info about the gallery click here. To visit their webpage go here. To read the rest of the article on Ed Hay go here.
photos are from the Graffiti Gallery


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