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AuLukey

UNC Charlotte Super Mario

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I was leaving class last week headed back to my car when, to my surprise, I notice a giant Piranha Plant shooting a flame ball out of its mouth, an image that for me is a little reminiscent of my childhood. I turned the corner from where this chalk on brick artwork had been made to see another figure, Mario himself. This was on the Rowe building which houses one of UNCC's art galleries, so I thought nothing of it. There have been many public art displays on campus over the years and I thought this to be no different.

I heard "spottings" of more of these chalk Mario's across campus, from the steps near the SAC to base of the Belk Tower. Many of my friends were talking about how it was rebellious and how these drawings could change the way campus admin go about handling different matters. I didn't really understand at the time. Then, while paging through the many articles on NinerOnline.com, I noticed an article on Mario Art. It turns out that these drawings were never approved by campus administration and were sole acts originally by a guy named Henry Davis and now has evolved into a campus-wide effort by many students to allow expressive displays on campus. Many a day that I walk on campus I walk over chalk markings on sidewalks announcing an upcoming party, club meeting, or student body candidate. There have never been issues with these on campus as the next rain takes care of these displays. However, UNCC's administration is actually removing the drawings on the buildings on campus because they are "acts of vandalism." You guys be the judge, should this be viewed as public art or as irresponsible acts of vandalism?

I can't take credit for these pictures as I never had my camera with me on campus to catch some of these displays, but here are a few I've found online:

PiranhaPlant.jpg

Mario.jpg

MarioYoshi.jpg

1up.jpg

Yoshi.jpg

Mush.jpg

MarioMush.jpg

luigi.jpg

KoopaTroopa.jpg

Fish.jpg

BaBomb.jpg

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I think they look cool, and as long as there is no permanent damage, I don't see it as a big issue.

On a related note, a recent Observer opinion was trying to draw a parallel between "tagging" and art. Basically saying the only difference between art and vandalism is the medium being painted on.

I see "tagging" as artistic, but the difference is that painting on public structures costs taxpayer money to clean up, thus the problem with it.

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This is ART and it actually adds something interesting to otherwise dull objects. I thought it was art even at the thought that it was paint, but after finding out it is CHALK, I cannot imagine why a university would get bent out of shape. It is of high quality, is temporary, does not incite negativity, and is clever. Vandalism examples are gang tagging for turf wars, destruction, or symbols of hate or negativity. Although, I'm sure it wouldn't be 'art' if the administration wasn't against it. Such a response has the tendency to benefit artists :).

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I think it looks cool. I don't think it's right though, Unless the UNC says NOT to.

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I guess I'll just have to be the minority voice here. When you take your "art" and spread it all over public (or private) property without permission, then how is that cool? If the university says it's okay to allow these drawings, then fine. Otherwise, how would you like it if someone expressed their "art" on the side of your house....even if it was chalk and not paint?

I'm all for artists expressing themselves, but shouldn't they have permission from the owner of the canvas first?

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Does UNCC have areas where the public is allowed to do things like this. On the Appalachian State campus there are certain walls, tunnels and sidewalks where it is considered perfectly appropriate to spray paint whatever art or message you like. I've yet to see the university censor any of it. Typically if someone else doesn't like a particular message they just go buy a can of paint and go over it themselves. Perhaps UNCC should find appropriate space around campus to allow "graffiti". It allows the freedom of expression while saving other spaces where the university may be less inclined to what it. It also provides the campus with some great art on occasion.

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First off, it's a public building, not a private house...big difference. Second, I haven't been to a college campus yet where organizations weren't using sidewalk chalk to promote events or plaster up fliers, stickers, or posters on anything stationary. It's usually part of the public landscape.

Using actual paint would, in my opinion, be wrong since the public would incur some cost to remove it...but this is temporary...much like a street performer or musician. I don't see the harm.

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Elementary school girls sometimes draw "art" on the sidewalks in front of my house with colored chalk. I think one of the drew Mario once. It rains and it is gone. If this is what constitutes college age behavior these days I don't see any problem with it for the same reasons.

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Elementary school girls sometimes draw "art" on the sidewalks in front of my house with colored chalk. I think one of the drew Mario once. It rains and it is gone. If this is what constitutes college age behavior these days I don't see any problem with it for the same reasons.

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well, i don't really see the harm here. however, i think it's GUERILLA ADVERTISING... which has become an artform.

it might even be considered "high" or "fine" art... now, that turner broadcasting just paid 2 million $ for similar art in boston. :)

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These rule and chalk isn't vandalism. :) I've seen alot worse/strange/dumb ads written in chalk on buildings and other stuff on campus. Hell, I've even seen people write a giant "WILL YOU MARRY ME?" proposal to someone on a building.

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Here is the latest 'work' on campus. This one has really caused a stir though.

This is a quote directly from an email I received from one of the artists, Brandon Hicks:

"i'm not going to write out a long story explaining why but we woke up early and were out at the sac at 9:30 in the morning (friday feb. 9) and began to draw/color a GIANT bowser. utimes and niner online showed up to ask questions and take pictures... then "the man" showed up telling us that we shouldn't be drawing on the bricks. the police showed up and got our information and proceeded to give henry a ticket. we talked to "the man" and agreed to wash it off ourselves afterward. we just wanted to be able to finish so that we had pictures... so after 3 and half hours of coloring a 24ft 8in by 22ft 8in bowser on the ground at the sac we had to wash it off."

mariobowserUNCC.jpg

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It's such bs, if all the stupid frats/etc are allowed to make stupid ads all over bricks for their crap, why can't someone draw a non offensive picture...sigh :(

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24' x 22' wow, thats great. I hope more media attention is given to this so that non offensive public art like this is given the OK by UNC. IMO its currently a "boring" campus, and god knows there's plenty of brick to go around. It could use a little color...

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This is getting pretty big around campus now. A lot of people were talking about it at work today. The story about the PoePoe coming to stop them made the front page of UTimes and is one of the headlines for nineronline.com (article link) It's a shame the university is standing strong on their original decision. I have a feeling that police involvement will now escalate this situation into a more pressing issue with body the student body and the student senate. I have to say that I'm glad this is happening the way it is though. Students are starting to pay more attention to what is going on on campus now. It is really good timing for this controversy because of the upcoming football vote, I feel that even though the attention has shifted towards campus art, the attention it is getting will bring in people that would've otherwise never heard about the student football vote. (sorry, had to put a plug in for football)

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24' x 22' wow, thats great. I hope more media attention is given to this so that non offensive public art like this is given the OK by UNC. IMO its currently a "boring" campus, and god knows there's plenty of brick to go around. It could use a little color...

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The school has now officially banned using chalk on any bricks on campus. In retaliation, it seems a few students have decided to start creating graffiti with chalk on brick, concrete, and asphalt all over campus. They are mostly just simple messages like "I Love Susie." Other students have gotten creative and have painted "sprites" such as the ducks from Duck Hunt on clear wrapping and placed them on windows all throughout campus as well. Those have not lasted long before they are destroyed/taken down. One person ran around campus with a piece of chalk writing "VANDALISM" under or over any chalk on campus, including campus announcements (such as parties and events) placed on sidewalks. I know this person is trying to be funny, but in my opinion it is ruining the very meaning behind these messages.

I do hear a lot of people talking about this on campus lately. It's creating quite a stir.

EDIT: Here are a couple shots I found on a facebook group supporting these works:

n36607829_31809197_9503.jpg

n36607829_31809201_783.jpg

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This is really, really unfortunate. We have two other threads going about the lack of social cohesion on campus, and here the University is squashing students' legitimate attempts to take creative ownership of their surroundings. I understand the arguments against the Mario characters, but IMO they are par for the course on a college campus and much more attractive and creative than most similar ideas I have seen.

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The students on campus should get in touch with Eyebeam and put "virtual graffiti" on the UNCC Library. I think that would be awesome. Something like this video.

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The students on campus should get in touch with Eyebeam and put "virtual graffiti" on the UNCC Library. I think that would be awesome. Something like this video.

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