The Graffiti Rock in Saudi Arabia has a stunning collection of petroglyphs—proving that graffiti is an ancient art form. But in our modern world, it’s been both reviled and romanticized. The fact that it’s illegal—often done without consent on private and public property—perpetuates those sorts of perceptions.
It’s often done under the cover of night. It’s connected with hip hop culture. With gangs. It’s aped in high art. It’s lovingly collected in underground magazines (and above-ground ones.)
What’s interesting about Jeremy Watterson’s exhibit Big Sky Boxcar is that it’s a series of photographs of graffiti here, in Missoula: Graffiti that comes through via boxcar, graffiti from local artists and graffiti from people passing through. For cities and authorities, it’s an expensive annoyance. For other people, it adds another aesthetic to everything else that is part of our viewshed.
Watterson was born and raised on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeastern Montana and he holds a degree in Sociology from the University of Montana. His collection of photographs can be seen at the Zootown Arts Community Center, 235 N. 1st St. W., tonight for the opening reception from 5:30 to 8:30, where you can dig into some snacks and hear live music from Hoyt Smith. You’ll also get to see original work by artist Max Mahan graffiti-style on the gallery wall. Too good to miss. But if you can’t make it tonight, check it out before the exhibit’s end on Dec. 6.