Letter to the Editor: SLC's anonymous graffiti artist 'CONCENTRIC' speaks

The vandalism that occurred in Hill House is what spurred my interest in rectifying public art, choosing to view it as constructive vandalism; we all tell ourselves what we need to hear to get through the day. I admit to creating the first piece that appeared on the sixth floor of Hill House that said, "This is how I admit to myself that I'm in love with you," and find it absolutely baffling that it was put in the same category as the vandal who was responsible for the slurs and hate that appeared on the walls of the stairwells a few months later that initially sparked the campus-wide conversation about vandalism. I hope to spread values and do not find hate to be one.

So on behalf of my artwork, I wrote this letter.

I chose the name Concentric because I think in many ways it defines the human experience; none of us have the same and all reflect an internal struggle with, often times, a singular strand that arches out representing the life line. Life lines of other circles may come into contact with one another, but to what extent do we notice?  I'm very attached to the idea of a "sonder," or a realization that everyone around you, even strangers on the street, are living a life that is perhaps driven by completely different morals, ambitions, and stresses. It's a complex idea knowing that you don't matter to others who are reading this.

I began the watercolor as a personal project with no real intentions of making them public as the nature of the phrases I wrote to accompany them were very confessional and remain to be. The sixth floor message, too, was indeed a way for me to, as the wording would suggest, admit to myself a recent bought of lovesickness. While the work was very much for myself, I hoped that the intimacy of the statement would connect to an audience and that perhaps someone else could admit to themselves similar feelings. By hopefully forging a connection I'm able to break the walls and relate to a stranger, to understand that we share things together.

The subject matter of many of the pieces have revolved around the idea of being in love and how much of it is a perception and of course being in love with someone who doesn't love you back. These emotions are incredibly isolating while at the same time act as an immense empathetic connection to someone else; we've all felt humiliated, used, or dejected because we have not felt worthy of some sort of acknowledgment from someone we desperately crave it from.

My main influences are Tracey Emin, Jean-Michel Basqait, Mark Rothko, and Betty Woodman. Woodman’s statement has been a driving inspiration for myself which stemmed from her desire to create beautiful functional works of art, "because if you have beautiful things to use, it changes the kind of person you are," a sentiment I chose to reflect in the placement of my “vandalism,” an attempt to beautify a place used by all but only in solitude. I hope the solitude will also bring you closer to the phrase and my work. Now that attention is growing on my work, I'll place my pieces elsewhere. Please take a moment to look around you and participate before they’re gone.

—CONCENTRIC

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