Sunday, December 21, 2014

Welcome to Blank, Ugly, Boring Boston "potentially" made Beautiful photo blog

My name is Nate Swain. I am going to show you all the places in Boston and surrounding communities that I personally think could use a little polishing, brightening, greening, or softening. Basically places that could use some art, photography, sculpture or better architecture. I am going to be pointing out places you probably never noticed because they are not worth looking at.
These neglected places are everywhere in our landscape. They are areas that all have potential to be something more beautiful but currently fail. I have gone around the entire city taking photographs of the public realm. I have trained my eyes to hunt these spots out. I have figured only about 10% to 15% of Boston is blank ugly. Don’t let that number fool you. There are thousands of these drab spaces and places. The square footage is massive. They add up to something blanker and uglier than the sum of their parts. There are little ones and sometimes big ones. They are mostly vertical but sometimes horizontal in nature. They all are not reaching their potential or just seem forgotten about.
I am of the belief that in the public realm we should always show due diligence in design and care. It is a reflection of our culture. If you see half hearted effort in the public realm then it’s OK to do the same in all aspects of your life. Have you ever notices the beautiful places are the places where people care the most about. Industrial looks like industrial because it doesn’t give a shit about the way it looks.
I am not going to talk about dressing up the industrial sections of Boston because beauty doesn’t help the industrial bottom line. Besides I find beauty in some things industrial. I am going to be focusing on residential and commercial areas. I am looking at all the neighborhoods, shopping sections, financial areas, schools, and institutions. I am going to ignore back allies and the private realm. I consider cars and trucks private realm so I am going to remove or modify all automobiles in my photos. I also think cars clutter up the public realm and they are part of the ugliness.
I am going to start the Blank Ugly Boston photo blog in the North End. This is where I happen to live and this is also where I have already done some projects using photography and painting. I am going to circumvent the city in an ever expanding vortex starting on the corner of Prince and Salem Street. It's the location of my first public art project.

I try and follow a philosophy when doing my artwork. My philosophy is:
  • If you are going to create anything on a blank surface, consider the whole blank surface. No postage stamps.
  • No text or numbers of any language. Just use raw imagery.
  • Make it as non-narcissistic and non-antagonistic as possible. Make it powerfully subtle.
  • Keep people out of the image unless its historical. There are enough real people in the city to look at. We don’t need more giant catatonic painted or photographed people to look at.
  • Make it easily removable in a matter of minutes or seconds. Also at the same time Non permanent lasting no more than 10-20 years. I use large sheets of sticky vinyl or stretched non-sticky solid or mesh vinyl over the blank surface.
  • Ask permission from the property owner or manager to beautify the space. If they say no make note of that decision in a public forum. When people say NO they must be comfortable with that decision before their neighbors and peers. 
Now here is a map showing all the wall locations I found within the North End.
I know this looks like a lot but it is only about 10% to 15% of the neighborhood. I am not proposing to cover every one of these surfaces with street art or photography. I just want to point them out to start a dialogue.

I want to end by stating that I think the North End and the City of Boston is extremely detailed, beautiful, and exciting.

Here is a link showing beautiful murals throughout the city.

Blank and or boring does not equal ugly.
Ugliness and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Honestly who cares what I think.
I am about to show you something you probably never noticed before and show you ideas you never thought possible.
I want to know what you think.