I like to explore, one of most favorite past times is investigating old, forgotten houses and buildings – my own version of barely legal urban exploration. As age tames me, I am more loath to go into places I know I shouldn’t, but my wanderlust still propels me to take it to the edge of legality.
On the edge of town, just this side of the railroad tracks, there sits an abandoned warehouse. It’s made of the ubiquitous red brick as are so many left from that era (circa 1900-1930) It’s windows shattered and boarded up, it has obviously fallen victim to many young vandal. The spray paint tags abound and the old building signage barely visible from years of elemental exposure, the building calls to my sense of adventure and on many an evening walk, I find myself drawn to it. Walking in a circle around the outside, wondering what treasures the interior holds admist its weakened floors and decrepit staircases.
On a grey Sunday, I happened by with my camera, and in my eagerness to get a good angle with which to photograph the worn signage, I stepped into the rubble of an old one room building; a roofless shell with only 3 walls standing. As I stepped gingerly through the debris strewn floor, my eyes drawn skyward toward the big building directly behind it, I took little notice of the seemingly refuse on the floor of the building. Not until I had determined the the lighting was absolutely horrid for the shot I wanted and I would have to return another more sunny day, did I start to notice my immediate surroundings.
What I had overlooked and assumed just to be random rubbish actually had a pattern to it. I looked around and realized that someone had taken the time to make sense of this all, and not only was it organized, it was arranged in a way that was so artistic that I was at a loss. I walked to the nearest piece and began following the wall to the very end. Each piece different, each flowing to the next. It occured to me that I was not in a ramshackle building, but a gallery that was specifically chosen to best display this artwork. The building itself part of the display.
I was fascinated and spent the best part of an hour gazing and photographing. I couldn’t help but wonder how the artist assembled these, had he or she worked on them here, or were they made and brought to this location?
Each wall held a new and unique set of mixed medium artworks, all made from discarded material and paint – wire, glass, plywood, even a rubber giraffe. Some were carved, some were sculpted; but each one was a treasure in it’s own right, and to find this, among the decay of the old buildings, I had a feeling of privilege to have found it all. What beauty and wonder lay here in the dirt, what amazing soul had felt the need to express and share with the world?
Often have I returned to the site, each time to find little additions to the gallery. Sometimes I find that either by weather or by some rough hands, the artwork in disarray, but by my next visit, the gallery is restored and the artwork refreshed. To see more photos of this amazing little find, click here.
To the artist that created all of these, thank you for reminding me that beauty can be found everywhere!