Graffiti: Contemporary Art for Urban Spaces

By Taylor Ellis

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC The Loop) – In 2010, while counting homeless people for the United States Census, Chattanooga native David Jones saw something that sparked an idea.

Jones, who lives just a few blocks from the gallery’s new location at 505 Cherokee Boulevard, said he ” saw a bunch of graffiti that people wouldn’t normally see, and I really liked it.” What has emerged from an idea in 2010 is Graffiti, a contemporary art gallery featuring modern works from many local artists.

The current space, which is much larger than the original location off the beaten path in North Chattanooga, offers street artists from Chattanooga and surrounding areas a place to sell their artwork. The regular gallery features both artwork and 3D installations from six resident artists, and the back of the gallery boasts a public graffiti wall for any artist to “tag.”


The Graffiti Wall is a public space where any artist can add his or her work

The Graffiti Wall is a public space where any artist can add his or her work


Happenstance, a UTC Senior art student collaborative

Happenstance, a UTC Senior art student collaborative 

Of the 50 or so pieces in the studio, a hand full are creations of UTC   students or graduates.  One of the gallery’s featured artists, Ellyn Bivin, is a Chattanooga native and graduated from UTC with a degree in painting and drawing. Along with Bivin’s pieces, the work Happenstance is a UTC Senior art student collaboration. The work is just one of many pieces currently in the gallery that have a direct connection to UTC.


The current artists feature in the gallery include:

– Bryan Rasmussen

– Ellyn Bivin

-Eddie Graham

– David Jones

– James McKissic

– Renel Plouffe

– Jim Tucker

– Derek Williams

– Larry Young


Many of the works that are featured at Graffiti are not there for long. All of the works on display are for sale. As David Jones playfully put it, Graffiti is all about sales. “We’d like to be the place that is you have a modern building, or a modern house,” Jones said, ” that if you came here you’d find a piece of artwork.”

When new pieces are added to the gallery, it’s not without celebration. In the upcoming month, new installations by artist Bryan Rasmussen, who previously worked with renown sculptor John Henry.

A work by artist Josiah Golson

A work by artist Josiah Golson

In addition to the new 3D pieces, many new paintings from Graffiti’s resident artists and special guest Josiah Golson, who is a young artist showing his work for the first time in a gallery setting.

Graffiti is located at 505 Cherokee Boulevard, and is open to the public. On the first Friday of the month, the gallery hosts new exhibit opening receptions from five to nine p.m. Graffiti is owned and operated by David Jones, and specializes in contemporary art for urban spaces.

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