Graffiti with a purpose on old Washington Street building

By Becky Holland,

MARSHALL – It once housed the Marshall News Messenger among other businesses. The building sits next to the old Coca Cola Building down North Washington Street. Yet, it is not the building’s history that makes the building, now owned by Curtis Graff of Graffic Designs/Form Z Construction, worth a second look.

The building was in disarray and in need of a multitude of repairs when it caught Graff’s eye one day while he was at The Texas and Pacific Railway Depot & Museum. Graff thought about making the building into a welding shop, but creativity guided Graff elsewhere.

Once he got it, he started studying the building, and thought it needed some color. He viewed the outside walls as a mural, and started painting. His type of painting on the building would be viewed by many as graffiti.

He uses spray cans and uses broad ‘strokes’ and scenes with a message. Graff said he just wanted to do something different. “The building was a mess.”

Graff would do a little at the time of his painting outside. One day, he noticed something. “I had painted a scene, and someone painted some  objects to add to the scene,” Graff said. It didn’t bother him.  He thought what they did made his initial work better.

Not long after, others were painting pictures all over the building. The inside of the building became home for those who needed “space to create. We have got them coming from all over, playing music, building things and painting,” Graff said.

Though he really doesn’t plan specifically what will go up on the walls, Graff wants it to be able to add some fun to the lives of those who see the building.

“Life is too short to be so serious all the time,” Graff said.

When asked if he will ever stop painting the building or allowing others to paint on the building, Graff just smiled and said he would just start over.

Stop by and see the building. Just remember, if Graff catches you taking pictures, he will give you a can of spray paint so you can add to the wall art.  – This article was first written for the Metro Leader, and then was rewritten as an update for the Piney Woods News.

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