Student shows art of a self-proclaimed ghost

by Spike Hemans

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Jaffe crafts his art by mixing the video footage he took of the street artist with his own prints covered in beeswax, Courtesy of Spike Hemans

Jaffe crafts his art by mixing the video footage he took of the street artist with his own prints covered in beeswax, Courtesy of Spike Hemans

Few people know there is a genuine living legend residing quietly in the art department. Graduate student Lee Jaffe has done it all, from producing reggae records to documenting Brazilian MMA fighters, and recently published a book of his photos and writings from the past decades.

In his newest show “Blind Willie McTell,” Jaffe puts himself in the middle of the street art counter culture-movement, where he serves as a documentarian for another artist here in San Diego.

“So I met this guy downtown, around hobo alley,” Jaffe said. “He was picking on his guitar, singing old Blind Willie McTell blues songs. We got to talking and he told me that he was actually the ghost of Blind Willie McTell, and that he was a street artist.”

Jaffe’s show is screening several films of this artist, shot at night in high-definition infrared film. In the films, the artist is seen painting his artwork on various Bank of America locations around San Diego as protest to the predatory loaning practices during the recent credit crisis.

Also in the show are several paintings by Jaffe, with prints covered with beeswax, creating a very earthy color that matches the feeling of the street art. The show is filled with great work that captures the genuine pulse and beating heart of street art. The work is just as spiritual and fleeting as most street art gets painted over after a few days.

“Blind Willie McTell” runs today through Feb. 9 at the Everett Jackson gallery on campus. The opening reception is at 4 p.m this Saturday.

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