Girl on the Edge

May 30, 2012
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The fog is thick, smothering both sound and sight. Where it parted, she sees a chalky brick edifice rising ahead of her, slick with wet and grayish with rain, and she hears the voices of screeching cabs in the distance. She scales the building, a can spray paint in hand. A surge of wind slits her ears, as she holds onto a window-ledge of the thirtieth story, prepared to ameliorate the entire right side of the building, visible from even the far end of the Brooklyn Bridge. She looks over the edge to see the minuscule metropolis. One misstep, and her life as a covert artist, a diligent student, a passionate golfer, a connoisseur of danger, it will all be something of the past. Only her wall paint would remain; her legacy, her secret.

The images that formulate within her mind come to life with the deft, sure strokes of her brush. Skulls, embodying works of art, fashioned by other urban artists. Works which come and go, never permanent. Nothing really is, though, is it? Whether concealed by layers of paint or scrubbed away vehemently by city workers, one could wonder how long her work will last, who will glimpse it before it passes into oblivion?

She paints woman: alive, yet not quite living. She manifests the Street Art movement itself, half-alive and in a precarious position as the painter. Will they become just two more lost souls in a sea of forgotten memories? Perhaps they will move forward in life, carrying the movement upon their shoulders. Perhaps they will become something that was, following the footsteps of their elders. No, she could not let that happen. The girl on the edge of the building, independent, opinionated, has only a sole surety that guides her actions: the aesthetics of the Artists before her, parents, grandparents, must never be recycled. She will never halt her pursuit, never stop pushing at the margins of her canvas, of her intent and ability.

She is silent as she spreads her message, tells her story. She steps outside of the lines drawn by society, the law, though not to challenge authority. It is a jolt and a blaze of glory, an indescribable feeling, an outlet to the world that lies beyond her suburban Syosset bubble. She is an artist. The city is her canvas, and her feelings assemble the brush. A bristle for commitment, to her family, friends, and making a difference, leaving her mark. A bristle for hope, her silent guide. A bristle for individuality, her unwillingness to swim with the river's flow (and comb her hair), to flavor the most obscure dish on a menu, and to laugh until her insides ache as often as possible. To the people whom she loves, she is her bristles. To the streets of the city, she is Tiptoe. To you, she is just another story. But to the world, she is so much more.

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