ROTHKO-LIKE MURALS

 

When the pandemic hit, Portland-based photographer Brian Kosoff wandered around the empty streets of the city, where he encountered parking lots where graffiti had been covered. To his surprise, these coverings resulted in Rothko-like murals that he began to photograph.

 

‘Like everyone, I had to change my usual routines in 2020,’ Kosoff recalls in an article published by PetaPixel. ‘After the closure of gyms and other forms of exercise, my wife and I started taking long walks through various neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon. It was on these walks that I first noticed this interesting phenomenon.’

photographer brian kosoff frames covered graffiti like abstract paintings
images © Brian Kosoff

 

‘AT FIRST GLANCE, IT APPEARS THERE WAS LITTLE THOUGHT ABOUT COLOR AND THE EVENTUAL APPEARANCE…’ – BRIAN KOSOFF

 

The coverings seem to be of tags — or signatures — a form of graffiti that is not much appreciated by property owners. These have tasked themselves with the job of removing, or covering them, creating the abstract paintings.

 

‘When property owners felt compelled to paint over the graffiti they found offensive or unattractive, they’d use whatever paint they had on hand, or whatever paint they could get cheap,’ Kosoff continued. ‘At first glance, it appears there was little thought about color and the eventual appearance. But the owner or ultimate painter did have to decide just how much of it they’d paint over. Would they just barely cover it or paint a more pleasing size or shape? I wonder just how much thought they gave to the process.’

photographer brian kosoff frames covered graffiti like abstract paintings

 

Titled Paintings, the series showcases the patched walls, where the graffiti has been covered with squares and rectangles in different shades that don’t match the background color. When seen from afar, unexpected oeuvres are revealed thanks to the photographer’s eye.

photographer brian kosoff frames covered graffiti like abstract paintings

 

‘I have likely photographed at least 100 walls,’ Brian Kosoff concludes. ‘Some walls were so large that they offered several compositions. I wonder, how many graffiti artists and how many property managers made their marks on these walls? I assume that there were many more graffiti artists than property managers, and quite prolific were they. All of these contributors have never met, and in turn, I have never met any of them. But in the end, they created something far more interesting than just another blank urban wall. I guess it’s all in the eye of the beholder, but to my eyes, these strangers created art.’

 

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photographer brian kosoff frames covered graffiti like abstract paintings
 
photographer brian kosoff frames covered graffiti like abstract paintings
 
photographer brian kosoff frames covered graffiti like abstract paintings
 
photographer brian kosoff frames covered graffiti like abstract paintings
 
photographer brian kosoff frames covered graffiti like abstract paintings
 

project info:

 

name: Paint

photographer: Brian Kosoff

more on the series: here