SecondIron's Blog

Sharpening Iron to Live Second

What Harm Was There in Haring’s Ghost

Is it really art?  Is it really a crime? .. you decide

I walk around my local neighborhood regularly to get out of the office and get some fresh air from the cubicle that I spend many of my days.  On these walks throughout the historical district of my city there are many things cultural items that one can take in within a few city blocks.

Like most cities and towns in the country there are landmarks that signify events or people in history that make the city what it is today.
Whether it is an old abandoned school that they won’t tear down, yet won’t sell to repurpose it either.  Or the eagles that stand guard over eagle statue jacksonvillethe park keeping a watchful eye on the vagrants that are dressed in business suits that scurry around on their lunch breaks.

There is a little bit of history and nostalgia on almost every street corner that make this part of town what it is.
You have the old movie theatre next door to the infamous tattoo parlor that share space along the street with numerous other small businesses fighting for their piece of the American dream.

There is the park with the duck pond that they want to make into a dog park that has a playground for the kids to play.
There is the occasional graffiti that can be found in this city as well where neighborhoods have been claimed and turf lines drawn.

All of this is part of living in any town in America, well almost all of it ..
There are these gaudy metal boxes that pollute the cozy neighborhood view.  These boxes have been the focus of an artist haring, haring's ghost, artistaround town that has done his part to brighten up the neighborhood at the risk of his own freedom.  There are eleven in all that were brazenly adorned with renditions of the artist Keith Haring.
Apparently the city would rather have these boxes plain and an eyesore at every street corner than to have someone with talent express his artistic skill in areas that well is known for its arts and expressionism.

I had noticed these boxes painted and assumed that it was someone who was commissioned by the city to add a little flavor to the environment.  Little did I know until recently that the person was wanted and the city planned on arresting them and charging them for improving the landscape.

There have been articles written about this artist prior to this write-up, there have also been news reports where the artist appeared in disguise as not so much to hide himself but to allow the artwork speak for itself as it has all around the city people are talking.

The crazy thing is the day that I decide to finally write about this artwork I have walked past for months,  I read in the headline this morning that the same person I envy for his artistic expression was  arrested yesterday for a felony charge for the graffiti.

This makes one think about the way we perceive things is key.  Something that one person recognizes and attributes to art another can consider it a crime.  Just because the landscape was improved by a little bit of paint on some electrical boxes does not make it right according to the law, even if at times the law  can be just as wrong.

Is it wrong to hope that someone else will continue on the tradition of Keith Haring’s Ghost ..maybe so.

Then again if it gave the community something to talk about and enjoy.  The subject matter was on equality and it gave the people of this city something to look forward to with the new additions so then really what was the crime anyway?

So to the guy(leaving the name out intentionally)  posing as Keith Haring’s Ghost I say well done, great story line, keep up the beautiful work whether it be Haring’s or your own.

As far as to my beloved city that well in my own opinion took this a bit too far, hopefully the thousand or so dollars in damage that is said to be done will be left intact. Yet, as I edit this I read that you are scurrying about to cover up these masterpieces so those of us that appreciated the art for what it was are back to the ugly old metal boxes you so treasure so much.

As always I welcome your comments and opinions, do you have someone in your town that is beautifying your landscape legally or  illegally, if so please share (pictures would be great too!)


A side note there is a Facebook page that is rapidly growing in support of KHG to read more click here

About Charles Johnston

Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.

2 Replies

  1. Linda Andres

    Our town is full of mural painted walls and has its share of mural painted power boxes. It just seems to be part of the flavor of the city.

    1. cjohnstonjax

      There are many cities, even my own that commission artwork such as murals to improve the landscape as well as many that allow artistic expression. Happy to hear that there are cities that allow it and don’t always charge them with felonies for improving the eye sores around the town. Thanks for stopping by ..