Graffiti is an urban phenomenon and our own megalopolis, Los Angeles, is one of the top ten places in the world where taggers leave their mark. From Culver City to the Arts District, street art abounds. It happens in the dead of the night, in hurried slashes, on freeway overpasses, abandoned buildings, along riverbanks.
Riverbanks? Yes, taggers repeatedly visit our concrete enclosed rivers, especially the LA River and the Santa Ana River.
The Los Angeles basin is carved by three great river systems, the LA River, the Santa Ana River and the San Gabriel River. Even in times of drought, smaller creeks flow out of the canyons that surround the basin and feed the great river systems. And along these smaller creeks, taggers leave their graffiti.
Is it art? Is it vandalism? (Does it get your dander up because taggers are defacing public or private property?) You be the judge.
Walnut Creek in the eastern part of LA County provides a bubbling hiking route from the foothills in the east through the valley, where it feeds the San Gabriel River and flows out to sea at Seal Beach. It is a beautifully sylvan experience, shaded by oak, sycamore and black walnut trees. And there, we found art:
The creek runs wild with little concrete channeling. It appears that the artist has been forced to go into the woods, where even the trees seem to get the idea and want to join in the fun!