Our offices on Ashland Avenue in Chicago are in a “good” part of town. Nevertheless, we are fairly frequently “tagged” — gang-related and other kinds of graffiti mar various vertical surfaces (despite security guards and surveillance cameras.) Happily, the city quickly sends out sandblasters to remove the paint. I loathe this kind of visual polluction, so I’m a little surprised at myself for having developed a minor interest in “faded advertising” and look out for it when I’m out and about in town.
By “faded advertising” I mean those ads that were painted on the walls of buildings but which have aged to the point of being almost impossible to read. Is it their subtlety as opposed to the brashness of the graffiti that appeals to me? Who knows. I think it has to do with being aware of a connection to past generations and of experiencing the city as a living organism.
I thought I was probably a very odd duck in having this interest but, in the age of Google, it takes only a few seconds to discover that there are websites and blogs dedicated to this very topic. Is there nothing that we can’t now Google?