Several years ago we spent the holidays in Venice. Venice is a city of dreams, an island of aching and unreal beauty. It is stunning that even its deterioration is sublime. Most photographers choose to photograph the crumbling and settling facades of ancient buildings as testament to Venice's fading glory. This is entirely appropriate as the city feels like a giant stage set, its public face bold and dramatic. The facades are so enticing it is hard to see anything else. There is something poignant about peering through their thin veneer and into the exposed flesh of the buildings. It is sadly lovely to see something so exuberantly extroverted fade into homely decay.
Venice is also a city blighted by graffiti. I find it fascinating that locals would consciously deface a city so magnificent. Is it seething anger, boredom, or artistic expression? Having been to Venice many times, I tried, in my most recent visit, to find something else about the city that I had not yet explored. The graffiti became a topic of my fascination.
I will not take the position that all graffiti is art. While it is a real expression of society, it is also vandalism. Yet, it its randomness and contribution to the patina of surface, graffiti, particularly when faded and layered, can be a remarkable resource and inspiration for the abstract painter.
The image featured here today is of a door right outside our Venetian apartment. I could see it from our bedroom window as it changed in the dim winter light. I was fascinated by its textures and layers of rust, paint, and graffiti. One morning I decided to go out and photograph it. While it evokes little of Venice, to me it is still very Venetian and is one of my favorite images.