It was winter, and we walked through several big European cities. The monuments and public buildings were imposing and yet, in so many places, the foundations, the plaques, even hand-built stone walls were disfigured by graffiti, which was, in turn, covered over with mismatched paint, often applied quickly and inexpertly. Some walls displayed beautiful street works, works that remained untouched by either new taggers or the overlaid paint of the buffer.
It was all a fresh look at what art can do... and shouldn't do. I am painting imagined city walls. I might begin with a weathered mural, or pasted-up ads, or simply paint that approximates marbled walls or paint splatters. I hand-paint my graffiti and layer paint or papers or photographs. Over-layers look like the rubbing-out of graffiti, but the layers are all meant to be visible, the light piercing through the stages of the wall's life.