White Noise

White Noise New drawing finished on 19th January. The subject is street art and graffiti which I came across in Soho, New York.

White Noise
Drawing finished on 19th January 2014. The subject is a composite of street art, graffiti and tagging which I came across in Soho, New York.  360 x 545 mm.

White Noise: “Any random, collective occurrence of unrelated things”-www.businessdictionary.com .  “Noise containing many frequencies with equal intensities”- The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary.

I came across this random collective occurrence of unrelated things in New York last August.  Here is the first photo I took of it (which I showed in my New York blog post).

The New Yorker.

The New Yorker.

I asked this guy if I could photograph him and his dog in front of the wall.  Man and dog were most obliging.  I thought it might be my only chance at getting a shot at that wall.  One never knows if one is going to come across something again in an unfamiliar city.  I  didn’t even know what street I was on (I still don’t).  However a couple of days later while walking, I found myself at the same spot.  I photographed it a second time, also put it into my post and asked a question in the caption (photo and caption below).

Art exhibit at MoMA or paste-up with mindless graffiti? Guess.

Art exhibit at MoMA or paste-up with mindless graffiti? Guess.

I asked myself something similar.  “Could this urban tangle of marks and torn paper have artistic merit?”  (Yes.)  And then… “Can I make it my art?”  Mulled it over.   Several months later and after seeing a lot of street art, graffiti and tagging in London I couldn’t bear it any more.  I HAD to make a drawing of it.

It is a totally ‘found’ image.  I found it and in drawing it I validate it!  I have read that Jasper Johns paints “…things seen, but not looked at.”  Who would look twice at this?  Me.  To the eye of this beholder it is an exciting and energetic mix of shapes, colours and textures.   It is also loud…in places; in fact, a juxtaposition of noise and quiet.  Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns come to mind when I look at the wall.   Having been at MoMA the day before, I didn’t think this wall would be out of place among the abstract expressionism and pop art within.

Two weeks ago I drew the same paste-up figure (seen in a different location in Soho) in a drawing I named “Low“.  I see “Low” as similar to “Le Fugitif” – two more examples of “things seen but not looked at”.

Low Mixed media drawing. 290 x 320 mm. January 2014.

Mixed media drawing.
290 x 320 mm. January 2014.

"le fugitif" coloured pencil drawing, 29 x 30 cm, 2013.

“le fugitif” coloured pencil drawing, 29 x 30 cm, 2013. This is a drawing I made of somebody’s notice for his lost cat – who had fallen out of the window, according to what is written on the sign.

Related post:  Le Fugitif: Cat on the Run    Related page:  Street Art

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3 thoughts on “White Noise

  1. anna warren portfolio

    Aha! Now I get it! White Noise (great title) and Low complement one another perfectly. I like the Jasper Johns quote and agree completely. There is something captivating about those little corners that no-one pays any attention to. When they are picked out, suddenly the beauty within becomes clear. I assume the triptych was intentional? Nicely done!

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      I’m very happy to read your comment, Anna. Yes – the triptych was intentional (I’d even played around with ‘Triptych’ for a title. Other maybe titles were New York, Dirty Blvd, It’s My Party, Wall and Paper, Transmission, and Social Media.) But White Noise won out. Actually, Matthew thought of it. It is a nod to Velvet Underground who experimented with white noise.

  2. Robyn Varpins

    by photographing this you frame it and thus compose it….and your choice of composition gives it balance….a different balance than it had in relation to the building. the balance of an artwork. And it has been stilled. And by being drawn, it has been fully seen…which is the most loving act there is…to fully see another.


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