Saturday, February 9, 2013

Ruin Porn Paintings: The City is Man


Today I came across a term that to me is a good description of the cityscapes I have been painting for years: ruin porn. The term itself refers to pictures of dilapidated cities, most famously Detroit. There is something hauntingly beautiful, and yet sad about the pictures. Here is a link to a sample site:


A search for "ruin porn" will reveal many other sites of urban photography like this.

These images are as much a portrait of man as they are his cities. They speak all at once to his glory, and his decadence; his eternity, and his finitude. There is something very spiritual about them.

This is why I have always enjoyed painting cityscapes. For me a broken down building in a poor end of town is a spiritual metaphor for the human condition, and a testimony to the often failed and vacuous pursuits of man. One of my older cityscapes "Tony's on Eastern Avenue" is pictured above. More may be viewed on my site. (www.jgordonanderson.com)

And yet as I drive through Baltimore looking for scenes to paint the sight of a dirty street corner also reveals to some extent, the eternal hope that is held before us in God. Because after all, sometimes these corners are transformed, redeemed, and restored. The same is true of man himself. Broken and falling apart, he may be healed and transfigured through the power of God in Christ.

My "ruin porn paintings" try to capture and portray this element of despair and hope, and are portraits of fallen man who nonetheless has the hope of resurrection.

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