Former Alibi Arts Editor Remembers the Rainbows
Now that I live 5,000 miles away from Albuquerque—in London, a city as gray and lusterless as the stereotype—it’s easy to think of all the things I miss: sunshine, foamy beer and green chile chicken enchiladas probably top the list. But the unexpected one, the one that all the artsy hip Londoners would scoff at, is a painting on a building. Sure, London is supposed to be a street-art Mecca and there are tons of pieces all over the place, from Banksy to Space Invader to less well-known artists, but they all lack the kind of life that the Central rainbows embody.
There’s simply nothing here that dominates the cityscape quite the same way that the piece on the side of the Anasazi does, drawing the eye from top to bottom, popping with color and making the already-bright blue sky seem even more vibrant. That piece made me look up every day, my heart racing just a little before I spied it, worried that today would be the day it was gone, painted over with a not-quite-matching coat of tan, the building returned to its former state as an eyesore. I even look for the rainbows on TV as I catch up (I’m only on Season 2) on “Breaking Bad.” So far I haven’t spied one—and don’t ruin the surprise if I will, please—it’s just instinctual to look at this point.
Despite having several favorites where I live now—the multistory mural by Mr. P on Kentish Town Road makes me smile every time, but most of the work I see regularly tries too hard to emulate Banksy (or in the case of one artist, literally paint him over) rather than say something of its own. The rainbows are original. They smile down on the city.