By Natalie Rich
Strolling down the walkway between the Frank Manor House and Howard, or Howard and BoDine, most students would never notice the art right below their feet. But for those who happen to look down at the right time during passing periods they may catch a glimpse of the work of LC resident graffiti artist “Pax” (Latin for “peace”). Few are aware of his identity and most people who come in contact with him would never guess that by night he is a street artist. He even only agreed to be interviewed under the promise of anonymity. So far, Pax has completed three pieces, spray painting three bricks with the image of a giraffe, a bird, and The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. But Pax says he plans to do more brickart, as long as he can think of what to spray paint. With regards to his inspiration, he was very honest:
“There was a loose brick, and I was like, ‘Imma nick the brick’, and I had a brick for the weekend, and I was like, ‘I can do something productive with this brick, so I decided to spray paint it.”
As for the specific drawings, he concluded, “I thought they looked cool, and I had the stencils.”
After the first one, Pax kept finding loose bricks, and would pull them up to take back to the dorm, spray paint them, and then put them back, all under the cover of night. He boasted that no one has ever seen the removal and subsequent replacing of the bricks, except for a few friends who are aware of his identity and who help him pull the bricks up or put them back.
While this is Pax’s first experience making graffiti art on campus, he isn’t new to the spray paint game. In high school, Pax spray painted politically charged pieces for his senior project (specifically a tattered US flag with “think” written over the stars, and a language piece with the words “love” and “peace” formed out of guns/war paraphernalia). In the future, the artist plans to recreate the “peace/love” piece on the bricks here, as well as stenciling a “classy giraffe” with a tophat. As for the long-term, Pax said that he plans on continuing his work until he runs out of either ideas or bricks. He maintains that he isn’t really defacing school property, since it’s non-offensive, and just bricks on a sidewalk.
“If they don’t like it, turn them over,” he quipped.
Based on the political nature of his previous work, and the simple similarity in art form and style, some may draw connections between Pax and popular political graffiti artist Banksy (subject of the famous documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop), even going so far as to nickname him “Clarksy”. However, Pax staunchly refutes that nickname:
“[Banksy] is political, there’s political motivation. I’m like fuck it, I’m bored. Let’s do some arts. There’s a large divide. There’s like three types of street artists, I feel. Political ones, the ones who deface [property], and the artistic ones. I’m the third type. I put it down cuz it looks good. There’s no political aspect.”
Time will tell if Pax’s art will remain untouched and continue to proliferate, or if Lewis & Clark will decide to remove it and erase his work from the walkways of LC. Either way, many students have been seen stopping in their tracks to point his work out to friends and peers, questioning who he is and where the rest of his art may reside.