Mural photographer’s exhibit opens at Loyola

Graffiti artist Max Sansing, left, with photographer James Prigoff.
Photo by Anjali Lakha

By Anjali Lakha

A crowd of 50 assembled at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Communication Wednesday evening for a live graffiti demonstration and exhibition with Jim Prigoff, leading expert and photographer on world-wide urban murals.

Prigoff discussed the history of graffiti and spoke about his experience documenting murals and aerosol art worldwide.

Prigoff’s photographs comprise one of the most extensive collections of aerosol art in the world.

“I got into documenting murals and community art in New York in the ’60s because that was when I saw it. I was drawn to it and wanted to give people and art dignity,” Prigoff said.

Prigoff’s said he influences to capture this type of art came from the imagery the art created and the politics it expressed.

“I continue to photograph because I’m compulsive and interested in what more is out there. All this documentation has historical value and is useful,” Prigoff said.

Prigoff also mentioned that he was drawn to art because of the color palettes.

“Tracking murals, I could not avoid seeing all the markings and began to document what I thought were the best calligraphy. I do not create art but document what’s already there,” Prigoff said.

Max Sansing a 30-year-old artist from Chicago accompanied Prigoff’s exhibition with an aerosol art demonstration.

“I started doing art young. In high school, I was exposed to hip-hop and that’s what influenced the graffiti art I create now,” Sansing said while spray painting a large eyeball on a canvas.

Audience members noted the art in graffiti.

“Graffiti is often thought of as vandalism but Prigoff’s photos have captured art and emotion. He’s passionate and so is the art,” said Loyola student Michelle Lau, 20.

Prigoff’s exhibition showed community art and that is why Donald Heider, Loyola’s School of Communication dean, organized this exhibition.

“Chicago really plays an important role in community art. A name that kept coming up in that realm was Jim Prigoff,” Heider said. “It is a creative expression, it is political, it’s a form protest but most certainly it is a profound form of communication that continues to be relevant.”

For more information about the exhibit, click here: School of Communication


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