About “Freeze Tagging”

From an article entitled “Street SmART” in the Portland Daily Sun, published on August 21, 2010 and written by Matt Dodge:

(Photo by Sharon Morrill)

“In some ways, Aubin Thomas simply runs an art history blog. Just don’t expect oil paints and canvas — spray paint and cement walls are more the focus here.

Thomas documents street art around Portland, and combines her interest in art with her passion for preservation at freezetagging.wordpress.com.

But the site is also part of a local trend of providing a transition zone of sorts, a place somewhere between often-illegal street art and gallery openings. And while the debate over street art – especially illegal graffiti – continues, there’s little doubt that the work is steadily edging onto Portland’s cultural consciousness, with two movies screenings, several gallery shows and even an college art exhibit of a famous street artist happening just this month.

“I have a big issue with things being forgotten,” explained Thomas, a one-time Maine College of Art student and current tour guide at the Victoria Mansion. “And even though it’s not my art, I want there to be a record of it.”

Thomas said she had long noticed street art while traipsing across the city, but came up with the idea for the blog after helping to deconstruct the installation by New York graffiti artist Swoon at SPACE Gallery last winter.

“It made me really sad, because she made all these hand-drawn wheatpaste pieces, and we had to scrape them off with a paint scrapper,” she said.

For Thomas, the blog is also a way to get people to think about graffiti in a new way by decontextualizing the work. “If it’s in a gallery, some people will accept anything, but if it’s on the street, they instantly hate it,” she explained.

The term “street art” encompasses a broad range of art forms, from spray-can-applied graffiti tags to stencil, stickers, wheatpastes, knits and some perfectly legal, often promotional, posters. Generally, “street art” is used to describe any work developed in a public space.”

*Freeze Tagging depends on submissions from people who view this blog and welcomes photos of street art from around the world. To submit your photos, please send them (with your name and the date and location where your photo was taken) to: freezetagging@gmail.com

5 responses to “About “Freeze Tagging””

  1. Graffiti Writer says :

    Hey, thanks for your 2 cents in the Portland Daily Sun about the Asylum production, but next time, try not to speak about things you have nothing to do with. We worked very hard on that and frankly don’t give a shit if you like it or not. Also, please find another subculture to leach onto and find fame through. Thanks.

    • IAMA CAMERA says :

      Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry that my words in the Sun hurt your feelings, but Matt Dodge asked for opinions on the new wall and I gave mine, as I’m sure a lot of people did. Mine happened to be published, which I didn’t expect considering I’d said something so ambivalent, but I suppose I knew there was a chance of that when I said it considering he’d written about the blog in the past.

      I know that you and everyone involved worked hard on it- I watched the production of it and I know I couldn’t have done something that matched even a quarter of the craftsmanship. I wouldn’t expect you to care what I thought about it and you shouldn’t- I don’t think that an artist should have to justify his work to anyone and if I were you I’d tell me to shut up too.

      As for finding another subculture to “leach onto,” I’m sure you weren’t born with a spray can in your hand and at some point or another had to learn about it. I’m trying to learn about it in a way that works for me, which is to see as much of it as I can and document it. I don’t want fame out of this blog- with the exception of whatever Matt writes about me I don’t use my name on here and I rarely promote it. If other people find the graffiti/street art/whatever you want to call it as appealing as I do, they can look at the photos and if they don’t like it they can ignore them.

      But thank you for writing this. I can see how my comment came off as insensitive and I can also see why you’d be upset that I’d say anything negative (or even positive) about your work and the work of other Portland artists.

  2. Graffiti Writer says :

    Thanks for the reply,
    I apologize for the harshness of my last comment. It’s just that there’s a reocurring issue within the graffiti community where the people who are not actively involved always seem to receive the most public recognition via interviews, shows, etc. Which can be quite frustrating when you are the one risking your freedom, health and potentially hurting your loved ones for the sake of your art. So, once again, I apologize for the last comment and I appreciate you taking the time to respond for it appears as if your intentions are genuine, and if it wasn’t for people like you documenting our work, so much would be lost and ultimately forgotten.

  3. IAMA CAMERA says :

    I understand your original comment in that context– In the course of gathering up photos and learning more about graffiti and the people who make it I’ve heard some pretty horrible stories about the price the artists pay to create what they do.

    My day job involves dealing with history and what’s lost to history and it makes me feel sick to think that something someone put so much effort into would be painted over and completely forgotten. Hopefully documenting the pieces in Portland and elsewhere will stop it from completely disappearing. I don’t see myself as anything more than an archivist in this respect and I hope that’s what other people see me as too.

    For what it’s worth, it’s always an option for artists to send photos of work they’ve done to freezetagging@gmail.com anonymously. I can’t catch everything before it gets painted over and when people send me photos I don’t know and don’t care if it’s their work or not (and wouldn’t want to know anyway so no one can ask me in order to track them down). As long as it has the location, date, and assurance it’s a photo they took themselves (so no one claims copyright and I get in trouble) it has the chance to go up on the site and be part of the archive.

  4. Balance says :

    hey thank you for documenting these works. i’m really interested in how people in portland outside of the graffiti and street art scenes perceive and respond to whats going on in the streets, so this is cool to see. hope alls well

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