-ART ARTICLE: Photo Essay: UGH BRIDGE's Endangered Graffiti

Photo Essay: UGH BRIDGE's Endangered Graffiti
Terry Ward

As the Williamsburg Bridge 2011 summer bike lane changes and surface repainting projects move along, some of the classic graffiti tags will soon be gone. Classic here means "typical of what's going on these days" rather than being any sort of quality-rating. "Old School" graffiti artists who made "top-down whole-car" murals on subway cars back in the day mock much of the current bridge-markers tags. Artist Terry Ward snapped a few images of endangered or now-gone scribblings for his GurmpyVisualArtist blog.

The bridge's dedication plaque obscured by dozens of overlapping graffiti tags. Psst: Don't tell metal thieves it seems to be made of bronze.

The Williamsburg Bridge was originally spelled Williamsburgh, but decades of vandalism and letter-theft made it, in this close up, the "U_GH BRIDGE."

The urban camouflage of graffiti-spillover makes the workers' Genie Lift blend into the background.

Bridge-approach pavement memorial stenciltag honors young funky music-mashup performer DJ Josh Link who was riding his scooter when fatally struck by a motorist.

Specimen of the ubiquitous stickertag --so much faster and more concealable than the bulky spray paint can. Stickers can also convey longer messages than the aerosol-sprayed thoughts. According to this stickertag, the bridge seems upset and wants you to realize that she's "more than where you stick your dick."

Fading stickertags cover much of a miniature directional sign --which seems to be an early bicycle lane feature (as if bicyclists really would pedal full speed into the wall without such warning). On the bridge support, lettering shows the drippy handiwork typical of a spray paint beginner --a "toy" as seasoned painters would say.

Well-bombed section of bridge support. Usually the Brooklyn side tags-up faster than the Manhattan side.

Dedication plaque frame-edging's decorative rosettes, foliate designs, and egg-and-dart patterns all obscured by various taggers' colors. At least the sentiments here are more positive than usual: "SMILE" instead of the usual "f___ you" statement.