I took the first two of these pictures while wandering around the quad one day. The first (leftmost) image is one that I found on what looks like an old, gutted Emergency Response system near the English building. If that’s what it actually was (and I’m not sure, but that’s the general shape – a tall, narrow, sort of pillar with a space that looked like it might have once held a phone) then the message of “Ponder” takes on a lot more weight than it would if it was placed on something else, like a garbage can. I’m a fan of people always taking the time to ponder their surroundings, but there’s a lot more to think about when you’re presented with a gutted Emergency Response system (there’s something eerie and tragic about that – why would we remove something like that, or let it fall into such a state of disrepair?) than when you’re just looking mountainous heap of Jimmy Johns sandwich wrappers and empty Espresso Royale coffee cups. (My main thoughts in that scenario would be jealousy – I’m broke – and hunger. Quit bragging, luxurious garbage contents!)
The second (middle) image is stenciled on a stone pillar outside of Gregory Hall. It’s hard to tell what exactly happened here. The different colors of paint (and different fonts used in the two texts) suggest that two different artists did each part, one responding to the other. I like to think that there’s a graffiti artist wandering around campus whose “graffiti name” is Panda, and s/he happened upon the “Beware! Bears may be nearby” graffiti, laughed, and decided to put down their tag as a little joke.
Maybe the two artists are friends. That would be cute.
The third (rightmost) image is spray painted on a tree outside of a house that a friend I no longer talk to (what are those called? Exes?) moved in recently. I know because I ran into her on the street a few weeks ago, asked her where she was living, and she responded: “The house with the tree with the spray painted face.” It’s nice to think of street art (or… residential tree art) as being landmarks for people.