Tag Archives: urban decay

No Mas es no mas.

class blog repost
The building sits on the corner of Huff Rd and Foster St on the west side of Atlanta near the waterworks (on the same side street as Forsyth Fabrics and the Goat Farm). This area, and Huff Rd in particular, appears to have been an area of neglect for some time. Although most of the west side is now coming back in leaps and bounds, the progress goes on alongside still-abandoned properties: a new Anthropologie, a snazzy restaurant, a graffiti encrusted, chain-link-fenced-off warehouse… In this area we see Jakle’s growth and decay “going on simultaneously” very well illustrated.

Back to No Mas, the signage is mostly intact, telling us that this place had something to do with film production, supplying studio set accessories like lighting and furniture for production companies. Supplies in general are a reasonable enterprise for this side of town that has been, and still is, the supply support for local business (how to describe businesses that mostly serve the business community? paper supply companies for copy shops, endless fabric warehouses, rugs, curtains for interior designers, statuary for landscapers…).

But that’s not what you’d this it was, from the street it looks like a Mexican restaurant and with all the bright colors it may take a second glance to notice that it’s even abandoned. A pool sits in the front lawn, cracked and broken, a gateway awaits you at the top of long stair leading the building, you’d think you were someplace ancient except that on closer inspection the elegant tiles look cheap, a product of the last few years and not, perhaps, meant to last after all. Still, though the pool is broken and the cracks in the sidewalks are filled with weeds tall enough to inhibit your passage, and the landscaped plants have given over to jungle growth, there is a sense that this place was abandoned well before it’s time, arrested in the middle of a vibrant life.

What happened? Did a small business try to bite off more than it could chew, outdo itself when they moved into a new building? Or did the money just disappear, due to bad investments, a swindling owner, developer or the mafia? The billboard that sits tackily just feet above the makes me think the owner/developer has their fingers in many pies and when this enterprise failed they just found a way to utilize it for ad space. At any rate, es ist No Mas.

grocery cart + graffiti gallery

what is it with grocery carts in unregulated spaces?? Grocery carts and graffiti seem to go together like peas in a pod, both indicators of a “subculture” most of us are not privy to.

graffiti + grocery cart 1
Under I-85 overpass, found after walking around the top of the Ansley Park Golf Course. This is an excellent tunnel in which to find beautiful examples of Wildstyle graffiti.

graffiti + grocery cart 2
This is the metal wall along Wylie St in Cabbagetown that shields Hulsey Yards from the neighborhood. The wall is a gallery of Wildstyle pieces.

graffiti + grocery cart 3
Located across from the new Old Fourth Ward Park and just under an existing skate park on the west side of the corridor. Notice even notable Atlanta writers, “Born” and “Vomet” are not above tagging over publically sanctioned wall murals.

the aesthetic of urban decay


I’ve never really thought about it before but i, like so many others, have long been enthralled by urban decay. I’ve sought out ruins for exploration and art. I’ve been in awe of their derelict structures, entranced by the beauty of their abandonment. It’s put me in search of Urban Exploration sects though i never too seriously sought to get involved, i’d totally go exploring one night if you asked me to! My exploring may have begun with Dad teaching us how to scoot under the chain link gate at LeFleur’s Bluff (and getting caught one of those times), and later on his midnight tree-planting on state property (or federal or city, whichever). At any rate, i’ve been an explorer for a long time, after all, it’s the whole reason my blogging ever began.

Bayside Cem smallpox the highline fountains and terraces high bridge park beginning of a very nice long cold walk Hotel La Rence Borden's

So, suddenly the realization that my research paper has evolved into something right up my alley is hitting home! it began as a “guided tour” of the Beltline, relating structures along a segment to the evolution of the American Built Environment. But comments from my teacher that suggested focusing on urban decay, unpoliced spaces and art (I was planning a section on atl graffiti) and then last weekends visit to the kiang gallery (previous post) really got me on this path of urban exploring which brings up unregulated spaces and how we act/react to them (do you tap your marta card when the bus driver is nowhere in sight?), which brings up unsanctioned art—graffiti—and sanctioned art—Art on the Beltline. And what does this obsession with, this aesthetic we’ve promoted out of urban decay say about us? where is development going? once urban renewal meant tear down and built new, now it means (more often than before anyway) preserve and celebrate the old and derelict.

“…after the suburbs”

a direct repost from the class blog

The title of this exhibit, “…After the Suburbs” really asks us to contemplate what will come, well, after. While many works are statements on suburbia itself—Travis Shaffer’s windowless facades and Shiela Pree Bright’s photo with blossoming bradford pears on a suburban street—it seems the core of the show’s question is answered by James Griffioen’s Feral Houses and Pandra Williams’ moss chair. Both Pandra and Karen Tauches (curator) explained this re-naturalization as a way nature is taking back over in some corners of our urban environment. In fact, Pandra contends that the world we’ve built is very high maintenance, and if we don’t watch it, if we don’t keep our chairs in climate controlled living rooms, nature will start to grow on them, actually bringing life to these inanimate man-made objects. I suppose it is just nature’s way.

moss chair ferns urban decay

It just takes a little lawn-mowing negligence to see the risk your property has succumbing to the wildness of invasive plants, which brings us to the urban decay pictured in parts of Detroit by James Griffioen. I love that he calls the houses “feral,” for they are, they’re wild things now and belong in the wild. Poison ivy waits to tickle your knees and snakes haunt the dark corners near the house. Inside, if there still is even an “inside,” squirrels and rats are storing nuts and raccoons are making nests.

So what does this say about where the suburban age is going and what it might look like in the future? In some instances we have people who are actually encouraging the re-naturalization of their suburban property—Karen mentioned a fellow in California, but right here in Atlanta, Duane Marcus and his wife have upset suburbia by farming on their property: Funny Farm. While I don’t think the suburbs and their bradford pears are going anywhere soon, i do think the movement to bring more nature into the urban environment is making significant inroads. Whether it’s folks tilling in their front lawns, organizations like Trees Atlanta making sure we have things growing along our sidewalks, or projects like NYC’s Highline (pictured) which creates a highly orchestrated meeting of nature, urban decay, and the city. Still, isn’t even this recreation just another attempt to control?