Castle Hill: Why Graffiti?

Rewon Shimray, Writer

Other than being the live music capital, Austin, is also an art gallery of a city.

There are official organizations that showcase art, but there are also individuals who broadcast their work independently: graffiti artists.

Castle Hill, on Baylor Street, is the result of an unfinished mixed-use project: abandoned. Measuring 1.2 acres, the site is open for graffiti artists. The illustrations range from bubbly initials to intricate abstract paintings.

Do you ever see these displays of art and wonder what the artist’s motives were: whether it be a curse word scrawled in red dripping paint or a cartoon blown into disproportionate bodies? What was the stimuli that provoked them to shake the can and paint such bold, close-to-permanent marks for anyone and everyone to see?

On October 21st, a thirteen year-old girl was a victim in a car accident and passed away. Her two sisters painted a mural in remembrance of her: a purple cross with her name written vertically and horizontally in white letters. Taking hours to complete, they worked until night, taking turns holding up the dim flashlight to the large mural and painting painting painting. They came back to the site a couple of days later to find someone had “capped” their piece in scrawled red letters.

“Did they not see ‘Rest In Peace’ written on there? I just don’t understand why they would feel the need to do that,” one sister said.

Their motives may have been to merely spite another artist in red paint… or perhaps they just wanted to be noticed.

At the end of the day, all graffiti artists are doing the same thing. People want to make their mark: yearning for something that will stay, putting hope in stains.

And absolutely everyone has their own canvas, their own medium, their own story.