Zen Spot #105 — Mindfulness, meditation and the Skate Hog February 21, 2018 00:05

Voices

Street art is proof that some voices will not be ignored. They will sing anywhere, and at any time, like tree roots forcing their way through the joints of an underground pipe in search of water. Throughout Philadelphia, there is a group of unknown artists who leave artwork behind on street signs, in train stations, on park benches and, in some cases, simply leaning on a curb.

Much of the work is good. Time was taken to create a piece of durable substance. Other works are spontaneous, fleeting and fragile--rain would nearly destroy them. A third group is that of the accidental. All over the city, people leave behind beauty, weirdness and, ultimately, a wonderful little piece of themselves.

Bolted

I found the artwork above bolted to a street sign just east of the corner of 5th and Callowhill, in that unnamed section of Center City between Olde City and Northern Liberties. Perhaps this piece of anonymous art is appropriate to its anonymous neighborhood. The primary image — the long-haired warthog — was spray-painted through a template onto a piece of weathered wood. The red-orange icon below the hog is, at once, inconguent and completely perfect; skater culture meets the artist’s inner Oedipus.

The piece is more palpably odd than most street art I find. It occupies a small asphalt and concrete desert, next to a five lane super highway, with traffic lights at the end of every block. In comparison to other parts of Center City, people rarely walk down this street. They fly by in cars. I found the Hog on a weekday in August, around noon, when the sun was blistering. Having since driven by in the dead of winter, at 3 a.m., I'm sure the artwork is still hanging, alive and well. When sitting at a traffic light at night, once you know it's watching, it’s more creepy than the twenty-five closed circuit cameras mounted on buildings in the same block.

On a searing August afternoon next year, take a walk, take a socket wrench and take a pair of sunglasses. When finished, find a comfortable place on the sidewalk, facing south, and take a long cleansing breath.

Forget the hog. Forget yourself.

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About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 DharmaMechanic has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit SilkDharma.com.

What are The Four Noble Truths?

  1. The truth of suffering
  2. The truth of the origin of suffering
  3. The truth of the cessation of suffering
  4. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering

What is The Noble Eightfold Path?

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right action
  4. Right speech
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

What is a Dharma Wheel?