Monday, January 11, 2010

Belltown's Street Art Enclave

OK, it's a parking lot - more specifically, the parking lot between the community center (formerly the Underground) and the Cyclops/Ace Hotel/Kuhlman building. Over the last year, it has evolved into an interesting venue for street art. Some of the best pieces have been added in just that last few months.

The site itself, on 1st between Battery & Wall, doesn't attract much attention unless you're practically on top of it. I eventually discovered it, but not after walking past it about 100 times. Yeah, I'm not the most observant of people. Once you walk down the stairs, you find yourself in a different world from the street and sidewalk above:

There are larger pieces like this, as well as Banksy-esque stenciling in smaller areas:

There's even a contribution from Bill Hinker, who painted room #306 at the fantastic City Hostel just a block away:

As you can see, Hinker is known for painting hot dog people.

The wall of the Cyclops/Ace Hotel/Kuhlman building hosts just one work. It's quite huge and impressive:

I'm not sure what the connection between King Kong and Belltown is, but does there need to be one?

In addition to those works, there's also some elaborate tagging. I'm not a fan, but you can't deny that unlike most tagging, there's a certain amount of skill involved:

This impromptu gallery is a great idea, but it's currently running out of space. It would be great to have other walls in the neighborhood allow this kind of decoration. Although these creations are known generically as "graffiti art," you notice the complete absence of scrawls by dumbass taggers. That's because these kinds of works command respect. The wall of Vain at 1st & Lenora also spurns taggers with its mere presence. I'd like to see more of these walls around here.

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