Across trains and bridges,
rooftops and billboards,
the graff writer purges his pent-up emotions.
His tragic losses unravel in streams and clouds of colorful paint.
The nozzle becomes a vehicle for his catharsis,
and he might as well be cutting for the paint is a synthetic blood.
All across America, he cries out in wild letters
and colorful missives in dark spaces
in the middle of the night.
My friend, my friend, my friend has died!
In late November, I discovered a graffiti tribute in honor of the late and legendary San Francisco Bay Area graff writer ANEMAL or Nicolas “Smoky” Barclay. It was such a chance discovery because I rarely photograph graffiti or street art subjects these days.
I photographed a lot of it in and around Oklahoma City in 2012 and 2013, but I got bored with it and moved on to other things. On November 28, however, I decided to take a peek at the trains west of Santa Fe and east of Broadway Extension here in OKC. That’s when I discovered these pictures on the side of a train.
They were interesting to me, so I took a few pictures along with some other trains with colorful graffiti scrawl.
Graffiti Tribute to ANEMAL
For reasons I can’t quite explain, I’ve returned to look at the pictures several times. I thought about posting them because the graffiti intrigued me, but I changed my mind. Today, I decided to look at the pictures again, and this time I did a search of the letters on the train “V-A-N-E-M-L.” When the search results were unrelated to graffiti I dropped the V and searched “A-N-E-M-L graffiti.” That’s when I discovered a story published on September 18, about ANEMAL (pronounced Animal) dying.
During his short life, Anemal achieved ledgendary status as a graff writer. He had a penchant for large, in-your-face spots on bridges, billboards and rooftops. A Go Fund Me account was set up for his mother. Donations exceed $10,000. You can see some of his work on Tumblr.
It’s so hard to lose a friend and harder, still, to lose a son.
“All who have loved will be forever young and walk in grandeur on a summer night…” — Garrison Keillor