Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Aerosol Art & Bratz Girls

As Frederica Mathewes-Green points out in her review of the movie Open Season, beauty is a virtue in our world today that is often overlooked, scorned, scoffed at or worse...ignored. We take it for granted. We sweep it out of our lives in the hustle and bustle. The noise of the world overpowers the gentle and serene. And we are the worse because of it. I wonder sometimes if the crassness hasn't contributed to the violence we see in our schools, now more than ever it seems. Mathewes-Green touches upon this:

There’s an innate human craving to identify an “other” whom you can hate with a full, free, undivided hatred. But till recently children’s entertainment did not feed that urge. In fact older stories, like Kidnapped or The Count of Monte Cristo, used examples of unjust treatment to show a hero responding with mercy and renouncing revenge. Does it really prepare our children for a global culture when today’s stories instead celebrate self-righteous glee and violent revenge?

I talked this over later with Hannah’s mom, and she brought up one of her own pet peeves: Bratz dolls. These are plastic gals who have huge cartoon-goldfish lips. They wear torso-hugging, midriff-baring clothes, enormous platform shoes, and a sly expression. They’re for girls 4 to 7 years old. When Hannah first saw them she said, “Why would anybody want a doll that’s ugly?”

Megan said, “There’s something creepy about the popularity of these dolls. Shouldn’t little girls want things that are beautiful? Why do they reject beauty and wholesomeness at such a young age?”

Indeed. Why do they? Probably because it's all they see presented to them by the adults in their lives...or at least Madison Avenue marketeers. As someone who will be having his first daughter this coming February, the whole other half of the Toys R Us store scares me. I took a peek into those formerly ignored aisles last week and what I saw there concerned me greatly. Having two boys I've never had to look. I did look and now see the uphill battle that is before us. And yes, I saw a bevy of Bratz Girls. Ugh.

Facing The Giants is but one example of a movie made by people with a vision for the lesser beauties found in everyday life. But despite the economics of fact (something that is NOT ignored in Hollywood) showing that moral family movies outdraw violent sex-filled ones by almost 7-to-1 at the box office, they still insist on shoving that crap down our throats.

Another example of someone pushing back against the grain is Paco Rosic. In Waterloo, Iowa, this young Bosnian immigrant and "graffiti artist" has been spending months creating a beauty in the middle of the country. He is recreating the Sistine Chapel using Krylon spray paint. I've been to Waterloo. I may need to go back. You can visit Paco's extensive website and see more of this amazing work he calls "aerosol art".

Paco Rosic, a young Bosnian immigrant and graffiti artist, has spent the past four months producing a detailed replica of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in the small city of Waterloo, Iowa. Arching his back, he paints over his head just as Michelangelo did. But instead of working with a paintbrush like the great master, Mr. Rosic used 5,000 cans of Krylon spray paint, a favourite weapon of graffiti artists. He calls it the Sistine Chapel de Paco.

“For me, this was my dream, I wanted to do it,” he says, his voice echoing in the vast space below his creation. He got the idea at age six when his mother showed him a picture of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

“When I saw this piece, I wanted to know how it felt. When I was painting, it felt like I met [Michelangelo].”


“This is our Field of Dreams. It will bring people here,” said Scott W. Smith, an Iowa producer who made a film about Paco’s creation earlier this year. “Many people can’t go to the Vatican; most people can’t go to the Vatican.”

The ceiling will serve as the centrepiece of Galeria de Paco and Coffee Shop. Mr. Rosic’s parents, Jacky and Anna, will run the kitchen. There will also be a jazz club and a studio.

The Bosnian-born Mr. Rosic spent the first 12 years of his life near Sarajevo. The family left the war-ravaged country for Germany in 1992, where Mr. Rosic became a hip-hop dancer and graffiti artist. They resettled in Iowa in 1997.

Pilgrammage to Galeria de Paco, anyone?


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