Crowder College’s Longwell Museum at the Elsie Plaster Community Center is hosting an art display titled “Graffiti-Urban Art” by Linda Teeter from now until Sept. 12.
“It is a study of the streets art culture and it is also kind of a social documentary for you to decide, ‘is it vandalism or is it art?’” said Teeter, a Joplin area artist. “The images are across the United States, you may have a complete different feeling about graffiti when you walked through the door.”
The show encompasses 29 pieces of photographs.
“It has been a five-year journey of taking graffiti photos,” she said.
Teeter got the inspiration of the graffiti art topic when she was in Kansas City.
“Well, I was like everybody else: when I drove past a building and saw graffiti on it, I thought, ‘oh wow, look somebody is destroying that building, they have defaced it in some way,” she said. “I love to photograph old buildings and one day, when I was driving through the West Bottoms in Kansas City, Mo., which is close to where I grew up, I saw this beautiful alley. There are these beautiful murals and I found out that they were all done by graffiti artists. And they were all put together one at a time on this wall in this alley and no one has attempted to paint over them, they are deeply respected and regarded, yet they were put on a building probably started out without any permission, a building that has been empty for 40 years or more, it is a 1940s architecture of Kansas City. It just made that whole area just light up, became a prize possession of the West Bottoms and people from all over come to have their professional photographs for their weddings, graduations, their family photos taken in front of those renderings.”
Since then, she has traveled to numerous cities such as Chicago and New Orleans to take photographs of graffiti art.
“Most of your graffiti artists are very capable of being traditional artists,” she said. “Most of the graffiti artists that you see actually have grown up, sort of speak, to a career of the art industry, in some way, they may be an illustrator, designer, art teacher, most often tattoo artist. They usually live and breathe art.”
She said her photographs at Crowder has a story to tell.
“Every one of the images has a story and the whole idea is to try to sort of document the art form and exclaim the culture and give a conversation,” she said.
The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, but will be closed on Monday, Sept. 1.
There will also be a reception in her honor from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 7, at the museum. The public is invited to attend.
“I would like for people to come out,” Teeter said. “We will also have a live demo from a graffiti artist.”
Teeter’s artwork can be viewed online at www.PhotoScapesLLC.com