Urban Art (usually in the form of graffiti) means "unsanctioned art", as opposed to officially sanctioned art. Also called 'street art', it does not mean that one is of higher quality, or even necessitate a different style. Urban art is often created under duress which sanctioned/approved art is not, and this constrains it. It is guerrilla art. Urban art is, however, free of any censorship, commercialism, and community mores which establishment art must hew to. This liberates it and makes it uncompromised; it is "pure art".
Knitta, also known as Urban Knitting (or knitted graffiti), is knitted yarn done in public places over public objects. There is one piece done on a bike rack in front of Hart Hall. Here are more examples (note what happens when a bicycle gets attacked): http://www.crookedbrains.net/2009/01/knitting.html
Posters and Fliers
Not all posters and Fliers are unsanctioned, but these are noncommercial, uncensored and artful.
- Angkor What
- Bananas Hanging From Tree
- Cheshire Cat Discharge
- Emma Goldman Institute for Anarchist Studies
- Vacuum Tree
- Wire man
Also see Desk Graffiti.
The bridge under the I-80/Highway 113 interchange over Putah Creek used to be a very famous graffiti spot until about 4 years ago. You can access it by heading out towards the Hydraulics Lab south of the Vet hospital and Unitrans depot. It is also south of the Center for Aquatic Biology and Aquaculture (CABA). Local writers DEOne, SteveOne, Dawns, Erekt, Phlower, Bfore, and even such SF artists as Giant, Bukue, SetOne, and Leks and others used to kill the walls out there every weekend, drink beer, build skate ramps, blast metal, and generally have a good time. You can see most of this work documented on Susan Farell's site graffiti.org. This was all fun and games until an alert CHP officer saw me painting in the middle of the day and pulled his gun on me. Graffiti spot no longer. All the walls have been sandblasted.... :( —(Mr. JeffSpeckles aka SteveOne SBS HNR, freight train killer 1996-2005 and beyond)
For an ever changing display of graffiti, head over to the train tracks along 2nd Street near the Police Station. The freight trains there park for a while, displaying many vast murals of well executed graffiti art. Of course, where there is good work, there is also bad, but typically one can spot many multicolored banners mixed in with the typical tags.
Photo Request: There is some nice graffiti on an old trailer next to the Davis Park and Ride parking lot behind Ikedas. I saw it one day when I didn't have my camera and I haven't had a chance to make it back. Anyone?
There seems to be a series of stencils in Davis produced by the same group or at least in a very similar style. They have been found all around town, including on Campus and the part of Downtown closest to Campus.
California Aggie columnist Ian Watson ranted about these stencils, especially because one appeared on the Death Star. It is rumored that many of these stencils are painted by the International Socialist Organization. The others in the series are:
Many of the original stencils are now painted over. The city seems to be using bright silver paint to cover some of them, which makes for some really ugly sidewalk. So what you do is stencil many of them in a pattern so that when they silver paint over them it makes a large face or such.
I hate to be a stickler but the one on the pillar of the art building is actually a silkscreen. You can make the argument that a silkscreen is a stencil but it is not a stencil in the same form as all the other ones on this page. Also, I'm sure there is other Urban Art in this town besides stencils. Maybe someone can contribute some of these other mediums? —GracielaGuardado
- True, there's a ton of interesting spray paint graffiti. Esp. on the trains, Mystery Picture/History has one from The Foundation
2005-07-17 16:58:43 Does anybody have any pictures of the Evangelions that used to be on the Orchard Park Overpass? —NickSchmalenberger
2005-09-12 13:32:00 on the Death Star there's another stencil, a woman's face in a box that looks like it's suppose to house a light to light the floor, i would have taken a picture but we couldn't really stop —MichelleAccurso
2005-10-29 13:01:34 Another neat stencil art image was the Samus stencil. Any pictures? It's painted over now, unfourtunately. —MatthewTom
2005-11-06 22:54:36 I thought it was an Evangelion, but maybe it is Samus. From Metroid right? I have pictures. I'll post them when I get the film scanned. —NickSchmalenberger
2006-01-06 23:18:26 is it so wrong that i wish there was more graffiti around to photograph? i adore urban art —MichelleAccurso
2006-01-12 11:44:34 Take the train down to Berkeley and look on the east (and west too) side of the tracks. Between Richmond and Emeryville you will see tons of nice stuff. Graffiti tends to be concentrated around train yards and tracks, construction sites, and freeways in urban areas. —JeffSpeckles
2006-02-04 06:04:07 I <3 —MarieHuynh
2006-03-04 00:35:27 A neat book to check out is "Graffiti world" by Nicholas Ganz. I like a lot of the character artists in there. I particularly like Kid Acne and Cha. The reason why you see a lot of writing on the trainyards is because trains travel a lot, and therefore provide a wider audience for the writer. —MatthewTom
2006-03-04 00:39:58 BTW, does anyone know what "Achilles Snap" means? It's not art, but I see that message every morning... —MatthewTom
2007-03-28 07:40:32 "The back of one of the design bungalos next to Walker Hall" was there before August/Sept. but I don't remember how long before. —MarieHuynh
2007-05-02 16:47:28 I periodically see tags from fairly notable tagging crews on trains in Davis and Woodland. It always impresses me. —BrianTrott
2007-05-24 21:34:04 There is a cool stencil of a Garden gnome throwing a molotov cocktail on a dumpster at the corner of 8th and h. I don't have a digital camera or I would post it. It reminds me of the work of Banksy every time I see it. —Dimitri
2007-06-15 01:36:37 Dunno if it's still there but I loved the stencil of a pair of scissors "cutting" part of freeborn hall off - it was artfully placed. —AynReyes
2007-07-10 08:21:00 I don't mean to be too negative or anything, but whoever made the Chuck Norris, Andre the Giant, John Lennon and Bob Marley stencils, needs to get some new material. That shit's majorly cliche. Oh, and we need to put more freehand tagging in this section. Last thing, quit talking about Banksy. That guys like a monolith of talent that overshadows a lot of other great artists. Plus, he's like the Tony Hawk of graffiti. Okay I'm done. —BrianTrott
2008-03-24 01:10:17 I really appreciated the freehand monster that appeared on the south side of Big 5 in the marketplace. It was covered up recently, but it had a good run. —AynReyes
2009-05-12 11:16:09 The freehand monster was a good concept but it wasn't as good as it could have been. Kinda sloppy, but a good idea. And good placement, too, if you're into that sort of thing. —JohnDudek
2011-07-07 13:37:41 the putah creek bike tunnel behind borders has had some pretty lame spray paint stuff on it but there have been some cool paint splatter of different colors that look amazing —JustinYoder
2011-08-23 22:27:07 Maybe stenciling needs its own page. It's barely art and its distracting people from a lot of the awesome crap out there. Like the picture I just posted of someone's graffiti underneath Pedrick Bridge. Take a deep breath and check it out, it's some awe-inspiring stuff. It's got at least two angry owls, Big Bird (possibly a pterodactyl), two Salvador Daliesque elephant/wolf/face/stars, the words sex and ape appearing several times, and a pretty good sized marijuana leaf in the bottom right corner. I get flustered trying to take it all in. And then I think "man, this guy or girl dragged a huge ladder down here to do this." Mind blowing. I think the angry owls represent the dichotomous nature of knowledge. Or the dichotomy of something else. Big Bird seems pretty omnipotent, like a benevolent creator. But then it looks like he has a claw and you have to wonder, "Is that a pterodactyl?" Is it? —MikeyCrews
2011-09-28 12:14:12 In the photo "Under Pedrick Bridge" there's a big yellow figure, I've seen his work pop up on I-80 overpass near Mace, and on the I-80 and CA-113 junction. They were there for a couple weeks before they got painted over, too bad no one got a picture of them. —SamChieh
2011-10-12 20:27:14 Yea I saw some similar designs under the I-80 bridge about a month ago but they had all been blemished with other, less talented people's work. Hopefully the big-bird artist gets back at it soon. —MikeyCrews
2012-02-07 01:21:45 Adding googly eyes to stuff is funny. —MikeyCrews