Boylan Bridge Graffiti: The Angry Man

October, 15, 2008, by Tim

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was a new addition to the view from Raleigh’s Boylan Bridge, a towering angry face on an industrial hopper with “U LIVE AND YOU BURN” scrawled across the bottom. Why the scowl?  Frustrated with the delays in opening the Boylan Bridge Brewpub?

Disappointed with the RBC spire? Let down by the Cree’s nighttime presentation of the Shimmer Wall?

Maybe Mr. Mad doesn’t like the looming new neighbor, the haunted mansion, er Bloomsbury. I believe the angry figure’s glare is set on the central prison expansion. Opinions?

Barrel Monster Spotted on Hillsborough Street Article

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Barack Obama


  • Mark
    10/15 02:03 PM

    Brilliant, Tim. Sadly for admirers, I saw this morning where they are washing him off!

  • Deb
    10/15 02:41 PM

    ^^Already washing it off?? Does this town not have ANY mirth? Glad I walked over there last night on the way home from Tuesday night shenanigans to take a look. I’d rather see the angry face there than a plain old rusty hopper protruding up out of nothing.

  • CF
    10/15 02:52 PM

    Yeah, I wish they’d leave this there.

  • revolu
    10/15 02:54 PM

    yeah it’s brilliant.  too bad they are washing it off.  it’s tasteful.

  • Raleigh doesn't get it
    10/15 04:10 PM

    Raleigh doesn’t get it.  This place is way too “clean”  we need stuff like this!  I hate when good graffiti gets buffed immediately.  So stupid.  Let Raleigh have some character and underground arts dammit.

  • Henry
    10/15 04:23 PM

    What a great addition to the raleigh arts scene. That entire wasteland of railroad tracks and abandoned warehouses could be turned into an urban sculpture/art park. to the author of the angry man, “keep up the good work.”

  • 150
    10/15 04:47 PM

    I’m going to play devil’s advocate here.  Why is this “art” exactly?  Why are all the comments supporting this, as opposed to being upset about it being grafitti?  It might be more “tasteful” than gang tags or BORF, but does that make it different really?

    I can live with it or without it, I don’t care.  I just find it interesting when people claim this is “a great addition to the raleigh arts scene”.

  • Jason!
    10/15 04:50 PM

    Clearly we need a “City Graffiti Curator” so that we can preserve the “good” graffiti and clean up the “bad” graffiti.

    Before everyone blames the city on this, are you sure it’s not the work of the property owner?  Granted, if you let graffiti stand, you receive a stern note from the city (at least for residential property); but it seems like a choice for the property owner to make (at least initially).

    Wake County GIS reports the owner as the “Ready Mixed Concrete Co.”  Anyone want to give them a call and ask them why they don’t want graffiti on their property?

    (heck, if it was me, I’d have painted over the text and left it at that.)

  • Victoria
    10/15 05:09 PM

    I understand one’s need to express themselves, however, the Boylan Bridge has one of the best views of downtown and it’s a wonderful place to pass when going for a run.  I really think that anywhere else would have been fine for this “art”, but not right in the line of vision for such a great view! (...or maybe that was the whole point?)

  • Deb
    10/15 05:46 PM

    Victoria, I agree that the view from Boylan bridge is wonderful, but do you perfer the rusty, old decrepit look of the hopper in your view? See photo here: ?v=0

    I am not a proponent of graffiti in most cases, but I can’t help but feel in my own opinion that this particular example is a whimsical improvement over what was there before (that is, if you have a sense of humor). I’m sure it elicited quite a few smiles and tickled the sense of wonder in quite a few people who saw it.

    150: Would something like this be more acceptable if the artist had gotten the owner’s permission? I don’t think there is a clear definition of art; it can sort of be generalized as something “made with the intention of stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind; by transmitting emotions and/or ideas” (thanks wikipedia). I think that the “Angry Man” certainly fits in this category.

  • uliveandyouburn
    10/15 05:50 PM

    already getting rid of my work, eh?

    guess I’ll have to go back

  • 150
    10/15 06:25 PM

    Hi Deb:  To be honest, I kind of prefer the rusty hopper, just because that’s what it actually is.  An angry face, to make some statement, isn’t really adding anything in my opinion. 
    As for the art definition from wikipedia….I don’t know.  I will always admit that I don’t get art.  Lots of people throw stuff down and call it art, even though I often think it odd or weird or just ugly.  Basically anyone can create anything and argue that it’s art.  The result is that it doesn’t carry much weight.  That’s my problem, however, and depending on your view, my loss too.  I can handle that.

  • Marianne
    10/15 06:35 PM

    Its a shame it was taken down. Raleigh just isn’t ready for a real art scene. I guess thats why they are pushing all of the artists out of downtown.

    now Carrboro,...

  • Tony
    10/15 06:54 PM

    I have to imagine that a general reaction to graffiti is “someone wrote on my stuff, better fix it.” I would bet it doesn’t have a lot to do with a carefully considered opinion about the aesthetic value or graffiti by the property owner. They own it, they saw that someone got in and tagged it, and “undid” it.

    I haven’t seen it since it was repainted over, but at the very least it sounds like it was an indirect beautification process :P

  • Jason!
    10/15 06:58 PM

    Wait, what?

    One business decides to clean up one piece of (admittedly cool) graffiti and suddenly Raleigh isn’t ready for a “real art scene”?  I dunno about the rest of y’all, but I do the first Friday hike almost every month and all signs there point in the direction of “more”.  The cornucopia of SparkCon nearly did me in.

    Graffiti is transitory by nature.  The artist himself seems to understand that just fine.  Now how about the rest of you?

    Oh, wait, I forgot this is the Internet, carry on with the predictions of doom.

  • uliveandyouburn
    10/15 07:04 PM

    Damn, it was just a way for me to kill a Saturday night. If I had intended it to be for more than just a laugh it would have been a much more impressive piece. Personally though, if the owners really had pride in the appearance of their business, they would not have let the thing rust to all hell. It hasn’t been repainted since at least 1974.

  • 150
    10/15 07:05 PM

    One more serious question:  Wasn’t that “art” illegal?  It doesn’t seem right that the business should have to spend time and effort because someone else decided to have some fun.  (I guess this addresses Deb’s question that I never answered….yes Deb, I suppose it would be more acceptable if the tagger had the owner’s permission…but I’m not sure that makes it totally acceptable)

  • Marianne
    10/15 07:18 PM

    I was hasty in my earlier comment. I did not mean to offend or insult the art scene in Raleigh. I love the art scene here. I love the fact that it has become so central to the identity of Raleigh, and has been central to the character of Boylan Heights for years. And it is awesome that we are having this much discussion about a piece of graffiti.

    I just regret that It didn’t stay up longer, but yes, that is the lifespan of graffiti. Still, I hope a seed has been planted, and that in the future we can see more work like this get to stick around, even near the Bloomsbury : )

  • Michael
    10/15 07:25 PM

    ├ępater le bourgeois est inutile.
    l’art est inutile. rentrez chez vous.

  • CarnifeX
    10/15 10:38 PM

    “...but I’m not sure that makes it totally acceptable”

    I’m pretty sure, with the owners permission, it does make it totally acceptable.

  • Johnny
    10/16 07:04 AM


    is an improvement.

    that spot is a total bust for a long time now.

    Hellllooooooo. RIPD.

  • 150
    10/16 01:20 PM

    CarnifeX:  That would make it legal, but not necessarily acceptable.

  • Deb
    10/16 02:04 PM

    150: I guess we are having a difficult time understanding your idea of “acceptable”. Maybe if it were a happy face it would be more acceptable? In other words, what exactly would be unacceptable about it if the owner gave permission?

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think this was done to “make some statement” so I don’t think that is really an issue.

  • JT
    10/16 03:21 PM

    This guy is a jackass glory hound that is going to ruin other’s fun.  A lot of people do shit like this but they don’t go around posting they’re playtime photos all over the internet.  Where I come from we tar and feather this kind of behavior… 

    The first time I get arrested because of heightened security due to this ass hat I’m going to be highly pissed.

  • 150
    10/16 04:42 PM

    Hi Deb:  I said earlier that I don’t really care too much.  If it’s illegally done, then I changed my mind….I do care.  I think that’s wrong.  If it was done legally, either with the owner’s permission or by the owner, then I suppose it’s acceptable.  I was really just addressing you question of if it’s MORE acceptable if it was done legally rather than illegally.  Yes, that would be more acceptable than if it was done against the owner’s wishes.  Of course, I don’t know the laws on all of this though.  Am I allowed to spray paint the side of my house, whether it be with a happy face, sad face, message, or gang tag? 
    Regarding the second point, I do, however, think that this has a statement associated with it, because of the associated “u live and u burn” bit, and somebody posting in this thread to go look at some website (which, I’ll admit, I haven’t done, nor am I going to).  I could be wrong.

  • TheCatalyst
    10/16 07:50 PM

    Legal, illegal… art or not

    I don’t want to see an angry face all the time. I’d much rather see the towers age and weathering.

    I like what I call guerrilla art. Just not angry at that magnitude.

    For those with a curiosity about grafitti you should check out a film that ran at Full Frame called “Bomb It!”

  • revolu
    10/16 08:27 PM

    dang.  ironically, the “scowl” has caused some tension here in NewRaleigh.

  • TheCatalyst
    10/16 08:33 PM

    Revolu: What makes it ironic?

  • TheCatalyst
    10/16 08:35 PM

    Although it was probably in jest, maybe we should have a graffiti curator!!

  • Michael
    10/16 08:39 PM

    Whether the image is attractive, acceptable, pleasing etc is irrelevant. People should respect the property of others. Art does not trump civility. When you tag something that doesn’t belong to you, you own that moment, which is artistic in itself I suppose, but you forfeit any right to the image you created. That’s grafitti; people paint stuff, it gets washed off or painted over and that’s it. Unless you’re Banksy, then you con people into paying millions of dollars for a stenciled rat.

  • arthurb3
    10/17 01:56 PM

    Awww, I thought he was always interesting. The city/developers have plans to put another high-rise condo developement here as soon as they can push the business out! yea, I want to live by tracks that trains come down at 1am every morning!!!!

  • Matthew Brown
    10/17 04:41 PM

    Dear Uliveandyouburn,
    Tasteful work on that old hopper. Likewise on your blog. Fun stories and gorgeous photos. Looking forward to your further adventures. Take care of yourself, now!

  • Adrian Hands
    10/19 03:07 AM

    Having the owner’s permission would not make it legal—the city would deem it a sign, and without a permit the property owner would be subject to a fine.

    It does look cool though, in my opinion.

  • 150
    10/20 01:54 PM

    Well, if Adrian Hands is correct, then it sounds like no matter what, this was illegal.  If so, then I’m against it, and I’m not sure why so many support it.  Whether it’s cool or not is subjective, and also doesn’t really matter.  I’d rather have Mr. Uliveanduburn pay for the crime and cleanup then have him do it again.  I realize how grumpy that makes me sound, but the law is the law.

  • the infamous one
    10/29 05:06 AM

    all of the creations are for sheer entertainment purposes and speak to a larger mass of this world. unfortunately we are all coralled like a hurd into the bars and universities of this world. follow the path of what is presented by the government and you will be ok. yet there are those of us who are discontent with the concept of life that is presented to us in a silver platter. we prefer the rusty old detoriorating plate that nobody else wants to take. this city does not allow graffiti art to run, not even in places where the only souls who will see it are the artists and the occasional train workers. yes, cleanliness is next to godliness, however graffiti art got me away from spending my time in bars and it got me exploring this world in a far more adventurous manner than anybody could have ever taught me. i’ve been arrested for this “crime” before and it wasn’t fun, however it only reminded me that if i was going to continue i had to be smarter about it.

    have you seen how the water tower looks now? i personally was content with its original white weathered look and the face was a surprise. however not highly artistic it gave me a vision of why don’t we have a contest where anyone is allowed to create a mock image of what they think the tower should look like. then have the public vote and then let the winner get to work.

    this city is bland as fuck and needs more murals and art to raise our souls. its just unfortunate the youthful expression of graffiti that was created out of love and time is quickly erased in a matter of seconds by the angry application of chemicals or buckets of paint. but its the “you didn’t ask, its illegal, so we destroy it” motto.

  • TheCatalyst
    10/29 02:44 PM

    I preferred the weathered look too.

    This city is bland as hell because we often don’t restore but destroy and build cheap.

  • james wilkerson
    06/12 10:00 PM

    Nice work. I’d rather see interesting art on my drive to work than rusted metal. Reminds me of Germany and their urban art fusion.

  • Choompuro
    07/24 09:47 PM

    oh my god. hehe

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