All around New York City, in the streets and on the sidewalks, you can find odd, brightly colored spray painted markings. Not grafitti, these symbols actually identify and mark the location of the intricate network of utilities that lie just under the surface of our vast city.
These markings are used to identify telecommunications (orange), electricity (red), natural gas (yellow), sewer (green), drinking water (blue) and proposed routes (white). While seemingly nonsensical to the public, it’s critical that these underground systems are properly marked prior to any repair or construction project.
While these modern hieroglyphs have their practical use, I was attracted to them for their bright, garish colors and interesting shapes. Some of the markings I’ve captured were freshly painted while most had already starting to fade.
My process in working with these images involved digital adjustments to enhance the shape and color of each image. The resulting prints dislodge the symbols from their context and transform these overlooked and mundane elements of the city into a series of abstractions.
Each image is presented as a tetraptych (or quadriptych), an arrangement of pictures in four parts. Each of the four images in the print, work and flow together; some undulating, organic and serene while others represent conflict, movement and boldness.