Editor’s note: Earlier this year, Brian Knowles reached out to me in response to Ryan Seslow’s post about teaching a class on street art and graffiti. Brian also teaches about street art and graffiti at the university level. As it turned out, I knew Brian’s Instagram account and his flickr and he always seems to be catching great work that I don’t see elsewhere, so I asked Brian if maybe he would like to do a guest post highlighting street art and graffiti in Oregon. Of course, what I was really hoping for was a post about The Reader/Read More Books/Boans…, but I figured I’d give Brian the freedom to do whatever he wanted. He responded that he would love to do a post about The Reader’s work in Oregon, so that turned out perfectly. The Reader is one of my favorite street artists/graffiti writers/whatever working outdoors, so I couldn’t be happier for Brian to let us publish some of his photos of The Reader’s work in Eugene and Springfield, Oregon. – RJ Rushmore
Eugene and adjacent Springfield, Oregon straddle the main rail line and Interstate 5. Two hours south of Portland, it’s the last big stop before San Francisco. It’s a good resting place for travelers heading north or south. The graffiti artist Read More Books has been a frequent visitor, as evidenced by the number of his pieces in the area. I’ve been documenting graffiti and street art here for the last 5 years. Every year a few new pieces appear as Reader passes through. None are ever legal, yet they seem like they were always supposed to exist in that spot.
For me, Read More’s style has a timeless quality. His work feels like it could have existed for decades, and his skulls and books give his admonishments to ‘Read up!’ and ‘Read More’ an apocalyptic flavor.
Below is the classic Reader throwy of the open book. Here inverted black on white and white on black. These are from 2011.There used to be trees between the books, hence the spacing. Here is an earlier photo.
The black and white book below is from the end of this summer, and the double books on the semi are also 2013. There’s a shot from its original location, and then one from its new home behind a fence with other trailers. Whomever moved it to the new location did Reader a solid and made the rear book visible from a major street. The colored triangle shapes are actually by one of Reader’s friends.
Higher than the rest, this Boans roller is all that’s left of a combo roller piece that Reader featured in his Label 228 zine. I never managed to see the wall before it had been dissed. The current graffiti underneath is better than the original diss, but not of the quality of that original epic piece. Here is a scan of that zine page.
Just down the tracks from that roller is “The Rapture”, a massively long spelling of the words with a still unfinished OYE drawn out in yellow lines at the far end. It’s visible from a local park and appeared around the time of those ‘end of the world/rapture’ predictions. Here is an earlier photo.