Saturday, September 12, 2009

I remember Spy

There used to be a female graffiti artist around Greensburg and Jeannette named Spy. I know Spy was female because she would sometimes sign her work "Female Graffiti Artist" with asymbol. And she did some really creative stuff. Once there was a Sprite billboard that she altered "Obey Your Thirst" into "Obey Your SPY." Another billboard had the numbers in an odometer altered so the only thing they read was S P Y vs. S P Y. A local stop sign had been altered so it no longer said STOP, it now said SPY. They were always clever and well thought out, and it made Joy and me start looking at all the signs around town a little closer to see what else she would come up with.

Then she started doing regular old graffiti of her name on bridges and stuff, which I thought was disappointing. Then it stopped altogether.

I saw one of her old logo-on-a-building ones in Jeannette today, and I thought how ironic it was that the boring, uncreative ones are the ones that lasted, and the creative ones-- by their very nature of often being on billboards-- are gone forever. I wish I'd taken a picture of at least one of them at the time.

I also have to wonder what her story was. What led her to start doing this in the first place? What caused her to quit being creative and just be a vandal? Did she just quit altogether, or did she move out of the area? Was she normally level headed and this was her means of expression, or was she troubled and moved on to worse things and got arrested? Has she become a professional artist, or is she working in a warehouse or a Burger King or something?

I'll never know, of course, but when I found my mind wandering down this road this afternoon, I thought how amazing it was that someone who I'll never know anything about was able to make me wonder so much about her by using just a spraycan.

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