I was saddened by the sight of the bulldozer parked in the front lawn of 4246 Manteca on Saturday for many reasons. This house has been abandoned for over 2 years now, but it seemed like such a nice place for the longest time. It was one of those houses that, if someone decided, “Never mind- everyone can move back now!,” then this house would have been in ready to be a cozy home again. I waited much of Monday to see if they would come and take the house, but they too must have President’s Day off. The house was completely gone when I went to check on the evening of February 19th. Although the bedrooms looked as though they belonged to children, the outside seemed to be a home for a happy elderly couple who was into gardening. Particularly, the great arbor in the backyard that had an ancient wisteria vine winded throughout. The vine itself was so thick it might have been planted in Carrollton’s honeymoon years. For going years without trimming or pruning, this vine had taken over the entire yard and was well underway its masterplan to take over all of Manteca.
I saw this vine bloom in April of 2006 and remembered being completely awed in the multitudes of purple cascades. How I wished for a way for this vine to be transplanted in my own backyard. In April of 2007, a bad cold snap froze the forming flower buds, dropping them before they had a chance to bloom. Although the mother vine is now gone with the rest of the house, there are enough trains wrapped across the yard that the Wisteria might have a chance of coming back, maybe even this spring. Or, perhaps, I could figure out a way to transplant some of the smaller vines in my own yard. We will see what spring will bring this year.
The other interesting feature of this house had been the graffiti. I have little patience and appreciation for graffiti that is meant for tagging with little to no artistic value. I have zero patience for the fascist and racist graffiti. Yet, I can forgive and even almost appreciate the kind of graffiti that has an artistic flair or has a sense of humor or a sense of belonging. The latter two categories could be found on this house. Not since the “I gotta shake you off” house that was once on Hemet did I see graffiti that was done by people (kids) who seemed to have some kind of connection to the home. Some of the graffiti was childish and crude or said simply, “I love Matt” and other 13 year old-esque declarations. What I particularly liked was the bit of humor someone had when spraying “door” on the door, “wall” on the wall, “window” “floor” etc. While the rest of the area is victim to stupid egocentric tagging, this graffiti was quirky and homespun- not visually appealing in the least, but it was not as appalling to see as the regular tagging either.
For the graffiti artists out there: If you’re going to do it, do it RIGHT. Create images that stand out, not simply illegible bullshit words which you use as your ’street name’ when ‘declaring your turf.’ You’re a human with creative thought, not a dog marking its territory. Adding cute little curves and dots or adding shading doesn’t make you more intriguing… it makes you even more of a vulnerable joke. IMAGES people… symbols…. make your visual mark on the world that people will remember, not a bunch of nonsense letters strung together with a Z at the end. If you have to spell out out, people won’t give a flying rats ass about it three seconds after they read it. If you can create a drawing worth looking at a couple of times, making people stop and THINK, they will pay attention. If you can’t handle creativity, then just stop wasting your time and paint. See- Banksy. Just my two cents on the issue.