Gamma Acosta’s ‘Crayons’

I decided to feature someone else’s words today. This blogger was recently featured on Freshly Pressed and I thought it was worth re-posting. It’s about Sandy Hook which I haven’t attempted to write about after all, what can you say to such a horrific, tragic event? However, one graffiti artist from Colorado, Gamma Acosta, managed to put his emotions about that devastating day into a mural, here it is:


Mural by Gamma Acosta, courtesy of PiedType

I’ve copied this from Pied Type and here is what Susan Richards, the owner of the blog, wrote about the mural  (please click on the link to read the original post and the many, many comments she received):

This 6′ × 24′ graffiti mural is the work of Gamma Acosta of Longmont, Colorado. “Crayons” is his statement about the Sandy Hook school massacre, done a day later. It’s gone now, boards and all, to an anonymous art collector who wanted it preserved. Normally Acosta, who paints on his uncle’s vacant building, would have painted over it to make way for his next mural. This is the first time in five years that one of his murals has been preserved. The collector will replace the planks.

When I first saw “Crayons” during a local TV interview with Acosta, I thought it was powerful, a kick in the gut, heart-wrenching. The horror of that day summed up in a single image. An unforgettable statement about something we must never forget.

Then I found a very long discussion about it on Reddit and it seemed mine was very much a minority opinion. Most people there seem to think it’s shocking, awful, repulsive, etc. Yes, it is. But that’s the point,  isn’t it? To make sure we never forget. I know I’ll never forget this mural.

I think the discussion got started badly when the person who posted the picture described it as his friend’s Sandy Hook “tribute” mural. It was a reaction to Sandy Hook, but it’s obviously not a tribute in the sense of a sweet, gentle memorial to the victims.

I don’t know how you feel about it but I think it’s a powerful image and shocking in its simplicity: crayons being blown apart. Personally I’m glad someone wanted to preserve it. What do you think?

Categories: Just Plain Blog

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4 replies

  1. Love it or hate it, the work is a powerful image – now. Unless it becomes universally famous, it will mean nothing – down the road a piece – without an explanation linking it back to the Sandy Hook tragedy. The image is entirely and vaguely allusive; there is no direct link. I question the value of hastily-sprayed graffiti on a dilapidated shed wall as an adequate expression of feeling for 20 dead children. Moreover, do the six dead adults count for nothing? Some might argue that, without knowledge of Sandy Hook, the image suggests nothing more than an “explosion of colour.”

  2. I, too, feel that it is a powerful image. It brings to mind not only the victims of Sandy Hook, but all the children in the world and what they have to go through; verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, things seen in the home, things seen outside the home, things seen on television, videos, violent games, violent movies, and sometimes violence in their own little world. Everyday a crayon explodes somewhere.

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