Tag Archive : Graffiti Artist

What Drives an Artist?

What Drives an Artist?

(What doesn’t?)

What Drives an Artist?

I saw a story last week about some dude in Austin who spray painted a pedestrian bridge with what is perhaps the most glorious, most well-done piece of urban art I have ever seen.

Despite the prominence of this bridge in the city of Austin, it took a, Austin NPR reporter four solid years of dogged perseverance to not only find the artist, but then to convince him to speak to her about it.

I encourage you to read her fabulous article “Who Has The Ninja Style And Kung Fu Grip To Spray-Paint Austin’s Most Visible Graffiti?” for yourself.

What struck me the most was what prompted him to create this glorious Masterpiece of concrete color. These few paragraphs told me everything I needed to know:

O’Donnell had never done graffiti before, but when he saw the bridge for the first time, he just knew.

“’I have to paint it.’ It was like I was drawn to it almost,” he says.

It was sitting there, waiting to be painted, a canvas for the whole world to see.

It reminded me of what George Mallory said when asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest: “Because it’s there.”

I don’t know why such a simple answer would surprise me. Maybe because I have no natural artistic talent myself. I am so amazed by these creations I can’t help but imagine the stature of those who create them: surely they must be magical creatures; giants or fairies of lore.

But no, they are not. They’re people. With stories all their own, reasons all their own for doing what they do, but a talent they choose to share with the world for no reason other than because they can.

That’s pretty amazing, if you ask me.