Monday, December 05, 2011
Written by Chad
Normally we celebrate the birth of Walt Disney today, but before cutting the cake, I'm not sure how to say this... I've uncovered something big. Bigger than you and me. Who knows how long they've been here, but there are hundreds of them. And they keep cropping up all around us every day. What's more, they're scattered all over town, hidden in plain view like Easter eggs.
Only attentive eyes dare to squint beyond the smoggy bottleneck traffic and crowded sidewalks to discern the secret treasures of this magic kingdom. But what could they mean? What secret code can be deciphered from this street art? Could these Mickey Mouse paintings be the instruments of revolution? The truth has only begun to unravel.
Our first question is who. One man with too much down time? An occult society of vintage cartoon enthusiasts? Right off the bat, we can eliminate Walt Disney himself from the list of candidates, since the scattershot artistic quality of each piece belies his proven mastery of the craft. Clearly these scrawlings hardly conform to Da Vinci's style, so we can also rule him out as the perpetrator. That leaves the rest of humanity as potential suspects.
If your correspondent were a paid investigative journalist, he might have interviewed someone to identify the makers of these curious gems, but, alas, his full-time job pays a fraction of minimum wage. Thus, his daily diet remains spaghetti-centric, and the artists' identities remain as shrouded in mystery as ever, joining the enigmatic ranks of such artists as Banksy. All that we can deduce about these anonymous imitators is their stylistic tastes. They exploit mid-twentieth-century American pop culture with the same savage disregard for copyright infringement as Andy Warhol. However, Mr. Warhol, like Disney and Da Vinci, is also long dead, bringing us back to square one.
Our second question is why. What merits and motivates the propagation of these Disney art perversions? Maybe we're witnessing the initial brush strokes of some kind of worldwide art movement. Maybe we're looking at random acts of vandalism from wannabe mousekateers. How long has this been going on? Centuries? Is paranoia a side effect of my malaria medicine?
Now, answer me this. Why have the artists chosen to use phone kiosks, restaurant signs, awnings, alleyway walls, and tire flaps as their canvases? And why is this phenomenon so prevalent in major West African cities? Not only has it taken root in Banfora—just take a gander around in Bobo-Dioulasso or Ouagadougou. I guarantee you'll chance upon at least one signature pair of giant circular ears. It's haunting.
So anyway, that's all I have for now—but my walls are covered in newspaper clippings and yarn, and I continue to dedicate sleepless nights to cracking this puzzle. If you get any leads, make sure no one is following you and call me from a payphone by night. I've got a hunch we're on to something.
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