Last Friday, the Super Bridgy and I were driving south on Broadway when a train blew by us boasting a big graffiti mural of Sonic The Hedgehog. Characters included Sonic, Shadow and Knuckles the Echidna. Much to my surprise, the train stopped and I was able to pull into an empty field off Broadway and take some pictures. Bridgy was thrilled to see all the colorful little characters. It was a great aventure for both of us!
|Sonic the Hedgehog Graffiti|
Sonic the Hedgehog is a video game series by Sega that debuted in 1991. It was very popular with both Generation X and Gen Y video game enthusiasts. In fact, it still is. The brand continues to thrive.
|Shadow the Hedgehog Graffiti|
What has changed is that gaming is no longer considered counterculture like it was when Gen Xers were little. As Sean Hinz explains on the website BitMob, gaming was once a little anti-establishment.
The public viewed it as an unhealthy counterculture made up of basement-dwelling hermits and antisocial geeks. In the early ’90s, I can remember going to the local bowling alley and watching the older kids perform fatalities in Mortal Kombat, one of the first titles to draw fire because of its violent content…
Over time, people saw the potential for success that the medium had in the mass market. Soon after, long-held prejudices and stereotypes began to subside. Now games are on par with movies and music, capable of generating billions of dollars in sales. We have huge marketing campaigns aimed at every demographic imaginable…
Despite this, we still cling to the antiestablishment culture of our roots.
And, this is exactly what I think about graffiti. Eventually, part of the counterculture and anti-establishment will be woven into the urban landscape through permission zones that will become tourist attractions. Local and state officials and community organizers will begin to recognize the mass market appeal of graffiti, especially street art, and long held-prejudices will subside as festivals and exhibits that celebrate the art form demonstrate ROI. This isn’t just something I drummed up in my head. It’s already happened all across Europe and beyond. Click here to read The World’s Best Cities for Viewing Street Art.
|Graffiti of Knuckles the Echidna, a character in the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series.|
Click here to see train graffiti of Bugs Bunny. Bill Wasinger tweeted that Albuquerque tourism should pay for this. It’s certainly one way to spread the word about your city, albeit illegal. Ha! I can’t believe the trains aren’t selling ad space every fifth car or so. They probably paid $1 million for a study that produced a 5,000 page document explaining why it can’t happen.
What memorable graffiti have you seen this week? Are there any sanctioned street art exhibits where you live?