Murals have become a really popular staple of Instagram and I get why, but as a an Instagrammer and street artist myself, I want to talk to you about some of the issues that can come up with talking pictures of murals.
1) Give credit.
Please look for the tag of the artist on the mural (the same way an artist would sign a painting) and try to find them on Instagram to tag them as the artist if possible. This not only credits them, and gives them potential exposure, but alerts them that someone enjoyed their art.
2) Leave no trace.
This includes glitter. Also, instead of just moving trash to the side actually throw it away. (Reminder to also not sit in the flower fields because this fucks with the environment.)
3) Be respectful of other communities and neighborhoods.
The reason there are more murals in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods is to boost morale. When people are struggling, having their neighborhood gentrified, fearing the police, and fighting for their lives in a way you might never have to deal with or understand, it can be nice to have something positive to see every day. There’s a reason there are more murals next to tags that say “no shoot zone” in Baltimore than home owners association communities.
SO! When you go to a neighborhood you’re not a part of, remember that traipsing around in a rainbow tutu jumping in the air might be interpreted at fetishizing their neighborhood. To be clear, that is not what I am doing. I am very aware of the state Baltimore is in and the history of street art, but I also know that to a stranger they have no idea of my intentions. They just see my actions. That’s true for you, too.
Don’t parade around with a two thousand dollar camera in a dilapidated neighborhood because you think broken benches are cute without being aware of how you might be making someone else feel. That’s all I’m saying.
Street art is meant to be enjoyed by all. It’s a gift to the public. But we can enjoy it respectfully.
Photos: Maura Housley