Useless (youngwilliam) wrote,

Smile for the Birdie

In the last few months, there have been a number of instances of someone (someones?) wheatpasting up pigeons around downtown. If you've been following me on Facebook or Google+, you've been hearing about this at least once a week, but for those who haven't, here's an album of them (that I update and mark on the Gmap as I find them).

Late July, a reporter from the Bangor Daily News contacted me on Facebook to see what I had to say about them (since before the person started their own FB page, I seemed to be the primary documenting person on them):

Around early July was when I first noticed the two pairs of wheatpasted gulls, and at the time I presumed they were an art installation that the people who maintain that little alley-garden on Central street had commissioned. But then Gibran Graham of BangPop posted a picture of one of the "I <3 BGR" pigeons a week or two later, which prompted me to try to find it, which led to me noticing a few of them around town: the yarmulke-wearing one in front of Bagel Central, the sombrero-wearing one in front of Coco Loco, the one in front of the Court building on Hammond, et cetera. This seemed like a pretty good hint that it wasn't a commissioned work, since the owners of many of those establishments seemed to be surprised and pleased with them being there. There's even been requests for them, with someone at KahBang wanting one by their office headquarters.

So far, I've only heard folks say either positive things about them, or fairly neutral things about them (generally with those folks wondering why someone would go to the effort). As far as I know, the only wheatpasted pigeon that's been removed so far was the one in front of the Youth Correctional Offices on Franklin; my guess is that they probably found that one a little too blatant, since it was right in the doorway.

I consider it a very charming sort of street art since, if done correctly like in the style of Toulouse-Lautrec's street posters, it doesn't damage the surface it was applied to, can be easily removed, and will eventually biodegrade on its own. Charming enough that I thought I'd publicly show support by posting a message in The Edge. I've even heard other folks show indirect support by talking about similar projects like yarn-bombing and Toynbee tiles.

If I had any concerns about this, it would be similar to how one is more likely to have a rock thrown through a window in an abandoned building, if a window was already broken. Just like how this wheatpasting can lead to other folks doing similar creative street art projects, I do believe it could also lead some to spraypaint inane scrawls randomly, leading to street-art just being given a bad name. But much like how any representation of superheros in mass media will lead to a small number of misguided viewers jumping off roofs with bath-towels tied around their necks as impromptu capes in attempts to fly, I think it's an acceptable risk in the name of progressive art.
Tags: facebookery, life
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