street art

Here’s a title for ya

It’s after 12 and I’m still awake, does anybody know the number to Guiness World Records?? I think I’ve finally adjusted to PST. I was up early this morning, of course because I went to bed at 9:30, checked out of my motel and went to a little place called Crossroads. I met these 2 nice gentleman named Don and John who are in a band named The Village Idiots and they perform random festivals around Joshua Tree. John, the one doing most of the talking was really nice and funny, he was a total hippy artist dad type who looked homeless and loathes gentrification. After our lovely morning breakfast counter convo I was antsy to get to Cabazon, CA to see the dinosaurs from Pee Wees Big Adventure! Major bucket list material. I think I have a crush on Pee Wee honestly, he’s kind of cute sometimes and his independence and persistence gives me the vapors. I live for these nonsense road side attractions.

 

After I got my fill of classic Americana at it’s finest I headed to LA. It was only 2 hours away but felt like a journey because it started raining to the point where you contemplate pulling over and I couldn’t figure out how to turn on the lights in this nice car. All this bluetooth and high tech shit but where are the damn lights?? After pulling over and wanting to rip the manual to hell I was on the road again….with huge trucks surrounding me. “There ain’t nothing in my way except the traffic of LA” that’s a line from a Hilary Duff song, her Pandora station is so good! Oh and I named the car Hilary. After missing a few exits and left turns I made it to my airbnb in Venice Beach. I’ve only used airbnb a handful of times but this is the best one ever, the hosts were constantly in contact with me, their neighborhood and house is luxurious with so many amenities for guests and its right by the beach. I was starving so I walked to this cute little place called Lemonade, if I was like most people these days I would freak out over the name but I’m not so yeah, it was like a fancy little cafeteria where they charge you by the portion. I got brussel sprouts (my favorite vegetable), jerk chicken, broccoli, and some salmon avocado thing-it was great, I’m sure I looked like a cavewoman eating because I was starving and ate all my food in less than 10 minutes, I’m a growing girl okay. Beach cruisin’ time! I rode an actual beach cruiser to the beach. Of course I got lost and felt like Snooki in 2009, where’s the beach?? Oh just to my left, I knew that. I wholeheartedly love Venice Beach, one of my most favoriteist places I’ve ever been. I love the graffiti, the shady characters, the skatboarders, it’s just so fucking awesome to me. I went to Santa Monica and got a pedicure and a manicure, in true Natasha fashion I clumsily scraped the paint on both big toes but it’s okay, I’m not a fancy girl. I couldn’t stop buying things after that, 2 new pairs of vans, mugs for me and my room mate, cute things for my friends kids, froýo, etc. And here I am in one of my favorite places, I’ve been daydreaming about this for so long that I feel like I’m looking at a picture everywhere I look but this life is happening!  Good times.

MIND THE GAP

So, its been awhile and I am beyond embarrassed, its not that I haven’t had any inspiration to write, its me, as usual, getting in my own way like i always do. I’m  constantly making excuses why not to post, like I’ll be up all night, or that i wont be able to type because i spilled water on my keyboard, but its really because i am so nervous and self conscious that i become a coward and do nothing instead which is the worst thing you could ever do. So please mind the wide gap between my last post and this one, take a long stride to the other side with me. I recently just got back from a trip and even though its cliche there’s certain emotions that only traveling can evoke, feelings that are strictly exclusive to being somewhere unfamiliar, seeing something old but new to you, the unavoidable bizarre experiences, and of course the little things you learn about yourself when you dare to step out into this great big world. Shall we?

2 years ago my friend Patrice came to visit me in Austin for the weekend, when she came in my room she looked around and noticed my passport sitting on my bookshelf and said ” Your passport has dust on it”. I will never forget those words, i never want anyone to ever say that to me again so when my friend Regina invited me to London i knew this was my chance to give my passport a good polishing.

The only other place Ive been to in Europe is Amsterdam and that was only for a couple days so i knew this would be a totally different experience because Id have a lot more time and i actually know someone in London which is  so wild to me still. Something i didn’t expect was that traveling international as a passenger is so annoying, in previous years i had the luxury of being a crew member but it does feel nice to not be on stand by.

I was fascinated by London immediately because i love a big city and London is not just a big city, its a metropolis, a major hub for all types of people, people who drive on the other side of the car and street!

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Took me a few days to get used to looking left when crossing the street.

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Touristy time! Don’t you love it?! sigh, it wasn’t really a question.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

i get calls from all over the world

i get calls from all over the world

West End girl

West End girl

London Eye

London Eye

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bobbies!

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the clock tower of all clock towers, besides the one from Back to the Future of course

tubular

tubular

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Portobello Road

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Tower Bridge which i always thought was London Bridge, either way they’re both standing upright

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i may or may not have walked across this street mimicking a popular photo some musicians took a few decades ago later realizing that i in fact walked in the opposite direction that the musicians walked in in their photo which would be totally embarrassing if i did it, so yeah London's cool!

i may or may not have walked across this street mimicking a popular photo some musicians took a few decades ago later realizing that i in fact walked in the opposite direction that the musicians walked in in their photo which would be totally embarrassing if i actually did it, so yeah…….. London’s cool!

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Sight seeing is nice but the real reason i was there was to celebrate my friend and her new bride. I couldn’t believe that i was in London in the first place, but going to a wedding reception on a boat on the River Thames? Wild.

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CHEERS!

Friendship is something special.

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DSC_0528                                                                                                                                                After spending almost a week in London having a great time and meeting so many awesome people i ventured off to Paris by myself. Although traveling alone is nothing new i felt surprisingly apprehensive, i was having such a good time in London i didn’t want to leave. As soon as the train stopped and i went outside it really hit me that i was in a foreign country, everything looks and feels different. I took a cab to my hotel which was in Montmare, unloaded and ventured out to roam. DSC_0769

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Paris isn’t too big, especially compared to London so i mostly walked everywhere i went, besides i was way too nervous to try to take the subway. I bought a map which was kind of helpful but the streets are so windy that it was really hard to follow, it also didn’t help that almost every time i took out my map it had to be obnoxiously upside down so I’d have to flip it around. I’ve never felt so American than i did when i was in France.

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I know its really cliche but I’ve been waiting to see the Eiffel Tower forever you guys and its been waiting to see me too. This structure is one of the few things that in my opinion has lived up to my expectations which are naturally pretty high when visiting a site that’s known to be iconic. This intricate piece of architecture definitely pleased this fastidious female.

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My second day in Paris was spent doing one of my absolute favorite things, roaming around looking at shit and taking pictures of it, preferably street art!

SPACE INVADER!!!!

SPACE INVADER!!!!

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Gregos Art! I didn’t even know he was based in Paris and then i come across this! A pleasant surprise.

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Something i didn’t expect to see was the Love Lock Bridge! I just read a few months earlier that they were taking the locks off because they were weighing the bridge down too much and although  a decent amount have been taken off its still very saturated with lovers locks, awwwwww.

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I felt extremely lonely in Paris, maybe its because i was having such a good time in London, maybe its because is such a romantic place and  i was alone, or maybe i just wasn’t feeling it. I got a really cold vibe  when i was there and I’m not talking about the weather. Paris  reminded me of a stunningly beautiful person that doesn’t have to be nice, it wouldn’t matter if they were or not or how smart they are or how talented because their looks are so striking its the only thing anyone is ever going to talk about. I absolutely loved the scenery, its right out of a fairy tale but as physically appeasing as it was i couldn’t wait to get back to London. Desperately trying to get out of France was never something i thought would be a problem in my life but it turned out to be when the Eurostar canceled all trains to London the day i was leaving  because of a strike. The train station was crazy to say the least, they told us to get a hotel and come back tomorrow and the only information they  gave us a piece of paper with a french phone number on it to call which was useless to me since my phone didn’t work in Paris at all. I was flabbergasted and beyond frustrated. I had no idea what to do, i didn’t want to spend money on a hotel another night and they said the train station was closing at 11:00, i didn’t think train stations closed at all. I bonded with this nice African couple and we ended up getting rooms in the same hotel across the street from the station, 2 of the last rooms in the city, no other hotels had any vacancies because of this nonsense. After we settled in our rooms we went back over to the station to try to get some answers, i didn’t want to go to sleep that night not having an assigned seat back to London the next day. I tried to be a nice normal person which i learned gets you nowhere, i now know that to get what you deserve and whats fair you pretty much have to be a gangster, at Gare Du Nord station in Paris at least, I’m sure it applies to everyday life as well (note to self). When the man i was with who was a lawyer by the way started talking to the manager about their terms and conditions all of a sudden they had tickets right then and there for the next day. Wow Eurostar, very shocking, now what about all the families with children and the elderly people who are SOL because of your incompetence. They were selling brand new tickets at the counter but wouldn’t exchange ours until the next day for some odd reason, so we were stranded in a foreign country, unable to use our phones and were told there wasn’t a public one in the building. Thank all the gods for the people i met, they really took care of me. I’ll never forget them and how much they helped me, a stranger, out. The travel industry can be very unpredictable and unforgiving  and traveling abroad can be a doozy, alone or not. Next time i need to make sure i have more flexibility in my schedule and a lot more euros just in case i ever get stuck in purgatory, i mean Paris again. I overheard someone say they couldn’t exchange their ticket until 3 days later!

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Au Revoir Paris! Cheers London!

Back in London i couldn’t wait to  drink some tea, take a walk, and enjoy my last couple of days in this awesome city. Where i was fortunate enough to stay was near Hackney Wick, but i also roamed around Shoreditch, Camden Town, and Nottinghill.

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So here’s where I’m supposed to sum my experience up and talk about what I’ve learned about myself right? Well i don’t know if its for a lifetime or a season but i have learned that even though i am naturally a loner i really want to start sharing more experiences with other people. I had fun in London riding the London Eye and seeing Westminster Abbey but my favorite memories were hanging out with the awesome people i was so fortunate to meet, i truly enjoyed just being with everyone. I wanted to do so much more initially but after being there a few days i realized that i don’t need to run around and drive myself crazy trying to do and see so much, i can have a great time drinking tea, eating biscuits and having a laugh with someone.

Cheers London!

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N.Y. Till I Die

Heart to heart I Love NY. Its one of those things you know, you just know. If someone asks me why, i stutter, I’m speechless, i draw a blank and have a million thoughts at the same time. Its special, like that guy  who has no money and  smells and but when people ask  why you’re with him you’re like “because i love him, duhh”. So yeah, New York is cool. Last week i spent time there for the first time in a year and a half (waaayy too long), I was on a semi-work trip, it was  fun, they took us out, wined us, dined us and such but when i think about my favorite memories as i often do i think about just walking down the street, admiring the graffiti that i fucking love so much and the convenience of a city where you can truly get your hands on anything you want whenever you want, Ethiopian food at 2 am? why not? There’s grime and natural beauty, a perfect balance that i haven’t found anywhere else and strongly feel that i wont, even if i tried. I had almost forgotten how beautiful Central Park is, how confusing the subway is (to me), and how much i love Italian food (TX is so deprived). Although the  leaves weren’t quite like fall  i could see a small change in color, another thing you take for granted when you move away from a place with seasons. One thing i couldn’t forget and immediately missed so much when i moved away was the attitude, the east coast attitude. You can take the girl away from the east coast but you cant take the east coast away from the girl. There’s something about not feeling like you have to be overly nice to someone that makes me feel so relieved, it doesn’t mean I’m angry or upset I’m just minding my own fucking business okay? I had an awesome exchange with this girl at a coffee shop one morning, i came in, she asked what i wanted, got my hot tea and muffin and then moved on to the next customer. She didn’t have to pull out the bells and whistles and do any magic tricks for me because that’s not a part of her job, fuck she didn’t even ask me how i was doing and why should she? I’m not her friend so why should she care? It warms my heart. Sigh. Its the little things. The big things were reconnecting with friends/old coworkers who have just moved to Brooklyn, meeting an awesome person in the park who inspired me and encouraged me about love and life, hanging out and bonding with my current coworkers and of course doing what i do, roaming.

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One of my favorite places

Sitting on a rock getting to know you, getting to know allll about you

Sitting on a rock getting to know you, getting to know allll about you

 

The best

The best

Andre the Great

Andre the Great

my MORE guys

my MORE guys

My favorite part of the trip, roaming around Brooklyn screaming at the top of our lungs with these fools

My favorite part of the trip, roaming around Brooklyn screaming at the top of my lungs with these fools

NY, I love you

NY, I love you

Anytime i try to think of my favorite place my mind can never be made up, but my heart knows.

 

Dadada Denver

What  does make the Mile High City so unique,  well i learned that there’s no air conditioning in some places because it never really gets too hot, there’s a lot more of a selection of guys #Menver and  there’s these really awesome pianos on the 16th street mall open to the public to  sit and and let your inner Mozart out!

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Whenever i take a walk, especially in a new city i consciously don’t put headphones in my ears and i don’t like to talk on the phone because i want to hear and feel where I’m am so that’s why i got such a kick out of all the random pianos out on the street, these everyday people keep  Denver sounding so lovely and its much appreciated.

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Dun Dun DUN DUNNNN……

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Street Art is just something that Ive accepted as a gift from the universe, it doesn’t matter where i am i will find it or it will find me but yarn bombs are kind of new to me. Like graffiti you wonder how? when? also how long it took? You don’t  actually  sit and knit it right there do you? ….right? Either way its adorbs!

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I also ate at a pizza place that had some awesome graffiti as well. The Pie Hole is one of those places  you go after the bar closes to get a slice or 2 and just hang out, its on South Broadway which is kind of like the east side of Austin.

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I don’t care for sports at all but there’s something about a stadium that fascinates me. I was roaming by Coors Field taking pictures and saw that they had a home game that following evening! #takemeouttotheballgame

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wearing a baseball shirt! it was fate!

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Look how happy she is!

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my husband

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so this is actually a thing?

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Later that night me and Amy got back to our hostel and hung out with a guy that was staying there named Chris, we hung out in the room for a little bit when we saw that the police were in the hallway, apparently this guy that was also staying there called them because his roommate was cleaning a gun and acting questionable. It blew over so Amy went to bed and me and Chris went out, we were on the hunt for a bar but ended up just walking around all night talking about traveling and drinking  slurpees. We found our way back and as i was laying down i couldn’t stop thinking about how the past 2 days were so much fun,  i also couldn’t stop coughing. I was drowning myself in water and nothing was working, i thought i was having an allergic reaction to the fabric on the sheets but whatever it was i just wanted it to let up so i could sleep, i could also hear someone else in the hallway coughing. The next morning me and Amy got up early to check out so we could head to Boulder when we saw Chris in the lobby and he told us that the crazy gun cleaning guy shot pepper spray in his roommates eyes in the middle of the night and everyone had to evacuate because the police came again! (Everyone except me and Amy  who never heard the banging that allegedly took place on our door.) So yeah that happened, the whole night I’m thinking I’m allergic to some dust or something and its pepper spray from 4 doors down, if it affected me that much i can’t imagine someone spraying it right in my face. Must be a doozy, off to get affected by something else in the Centennial State. Deuces Denver, hey Boulder!

Chicago Street Art

Okay guys enough with the tomfoolery, i need to start posting again and one of my favorite things in the universe is street art.  I’m obsessed with graffiti, i cant ride or walk past it without taking a picture. My  idea of ‘the life’ is continuously getting lost in new cities admiring the street and imagining who did it and when, fortunately i was able to do that in the Chi a few weeks ago!

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I was so happy and shocked to see this after first noticing it 2 years ago

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underneath the train was one of my favorite places to roam

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I started taking a photography class about 6 weeks ago so this trip gave me a lot of time to play with my camera

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My favorite brand of postcards is called Lantern Press! does anyone else get as excited as i do about paper?! didn’t think so

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even the subtle things…

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Love this, something to think about.

Love this, something to think about.

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This is in Austin as well, and all over Chicago

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one of my favorites

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Not all of the street art in Chicago was painted on walls some was literally sitting or walking in the park

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Does anyone else immediately see a face?

So yeah my time in Chicago was amazing, i got to visit a friend, connect with an old one, and give myself blisters from roaming around  all day. It really is such a beautiful city with a bad reputation, i  was pleasantly surprised at how lovely it was, not saying i was expecting Compton but people make it sound so bad and I’m sure there are bad parts but you can say that about everywhere and everyone. I will def be back to eat breakfast at Macs Restaurant and play volleyball at North Ave Beach and of course to roam.

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Tuxedo Mouse!

Marfa Madness

So yesterday i started out on my southwestern road trip, i told  myself that i would post everyday but i was so incredibly delirious last night after driving over 7 hrs from Austin, TX to Marfa, TX that i could barely brush my teeth. The ride although long was beautiful. One of the first places i stopped to stretch my legs was in Alpine, TX right next to Big Bend National Park.

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I truly believe that every place in the world has character but i got the strangest unsatisfying feeling pretty much as soon as i drove into Marfa. I love small towns almost as much as bustling metropolis’. Texas is full of them, from Johnson City to Fredericksburg, but Marfa …..have you seen “The Hills Have Eyes”? honestly? There are countless boarded up houses and business’, stray dogs and cats, NOWHERE TO EAT and no people! What in the marfa fuck is going on? I read that a lot of places are only open on the weekend which is weird to me. It does have character though, just an eerie, strange, ghost town like energy about it that isnt very inviting.

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Random fake Prada store in the middle of the desert

#tuxedomouse in Marfa

#tuxedomouse in Marfa

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the only faces i saw while in Marfa

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On the way out of town i drove through another equally creepy small town even smaller than Marfa. Ladies and gentleman, Valentine, TX!

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Such a good photo op!

Such a good photo op!

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Sandstorm!

Sandstorm!

When the horses start mean mugging its time to leave, im out!

When the horses start mean mugging its time to leave, im out!

So yeah im missing Austin right now but its okay. I took a beautiful drive through the Guadalupe Mountains and im spending the night in Carlsbad, NM. The 4th motel i went to had a vacancy so i took a shower and here i am. The road is life. #Heartonthehighway

 

Spray if she wants to

Street Art  is one of my favorite absolute favorite things (i wonder if its one of Oprahs too?) i love to admire it, photograph it, and as far as today take part in it. The act of spray painting something on a random wall conjures up the 5 W’s. Who? What? When? Where? and Why?  Was it one person or a group of people? What is it about that particular piece that made them paint that? When the hell did they do that without anyone seeing them? Why did you chose to paint it there? And what does it mean to us? The mystery in that goes along with why street art is so influential. The no-name artists as well as the handful of famous ones remain in the shadows away from the media and don’t seem to care about recognition from the outside world and being famous. Whats even more scandalous is often not what is displayed but how they reached such a high structure and were able to stabilize their self for as long as it takes to create huge pieces.

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The best ive ever seen is in Toronto which is an awesome metropolis and it’s totally  legal, behind all the restaurants and little shops downtown there are alley ways completely full of graffiti from top to bottom.232323232%7Ffp5435;)nu=4345)467) 34)WSNRCG=368454( 83349nu0mrj

The city of Toronto embraces street art so local artists don’t have to worry about being arrested for expressing themselves…..

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Couldn’t agree more, vandalism and art are two different things.

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Venice Beach, CA is another one of my favorite places that has that wild uninhibited vibe that i love and a designated display of street art on the beach at the Venice Art Walls.

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You need a permit to paint here but it is free and easy to get which is great because without the graffiti walls  an eccentric place like Venice Beach wouldn’t be the same.

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Europe has some of the most impressive and notorious street art and street artists, ive only traveled to Amsterdam so far and the street art was definitely something to remember.

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Better than prostitutes….

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Who knows what that says?! and who cares!? its art!

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Ive also found awesome street art in some random cities like Columbus, OH

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How i feel about cities with blank walls

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Kid PK’s street art was the first graffiti i remember recognizing, his name is planted everywhere in NJ and NY on the tops of high buildings and on the side of old trains, PK where are you? *insert ‘call me’ hand gesture to ear*

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Just how i feel that it was so lame of my mom to not go to Woodstock (and to not let me see “N Sync and Britney back in the day #scarredforlife) it was so incredibly lame of me to not visit 5 Pointz in Long Island City in Queens, NY. As of November 2013 the art is no longer, they’ve decided to build an apt building there so it’s completely covered in white paint. There’s nothing worse than a bare wall, you can quote me on that.

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Alas, there’s Austin, the city i reside in now and  its filled with art and it continues to amaze me all the time. From my work to my apartment complex to just driving around town im always in and around art and im such a lucky girl for that.

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Even PeeWee goes hard in the paint, ya know as long as you don’t scare him

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The most street art is no question at Baylor St art wall, it is graffiti heaven in Austin and a playground for photographers and admirers like myself

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It’s constantly changing which is a part of its appeal

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My home state written across the state i live in now #mindblown

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I usually come here to max and relax like so, taking it all in

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But today  i decided to throw up a hand myself

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One of my favorite quotes, as well as #tuxedomouse

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I may have created a monster #Splat not to be confused with #Spit RIP #BeatStreet

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So yeah, the moral of this story is that uh street art is like really cool and stuff and if you live in a city like myself and get to see it all the time, even on those cold gray days just think to yourself  that someone out there is risking their freedom to make art so everyone should just shut up and enjoy it.