Art and inspiration in everyday urban elements.

Downtown, our walls and sidewalks tell a story through artful messes—compositions of paint, tar, mortar, chalk, rust, or even beverage spill. There is visual texture beneath my feet—on cobbled streets, nonslip curb ramp treads, bricked walkways. Concrete walls and building exteriors are marked with graffiti explosions or patterned murals. I see city maintenance markings for gas and water lines, warnings for low-overhead parking entrances, or directionals for loading docks. Everywhere: letters and numbers, smears, drips, crackling paint, arrows, puddles.

Electric panel, rust, found in a parking garage stairwell

You might see me standing before walls, iPhone in hand taking pictures of what seems mundane to passersby, but those elements isolated in a photo or reassembled with others on substrate in the studio become something else: urban iconography. And, my unfolding narrative of living and working in Richmond’s urban center.

Tag by Akers and other graffiti, under a bridge in Shockoe Bottom

These are the things appearing in my art and are often posted on Instagram along with my paintings (some successes, some work-in-progress). You can visit that site to see what intrigues me, but there are a few shots tucked into this post. They are reminders that art is everywhere, and can be in unlikely places. Sometimes, they just need the eye of a wandering artist to bring them to your attention.

Not sure what this is–city maintenance mark?

Curious about the cryptic marks left by maintenance crews in your city? You can learn more about what those things mean here.