BEHIND FAME15 :: Writings on the Wall: An Exploration of Human Expression

want to know what we’re up to in the burgh? then you’ve come to the right place! we take you to our favorite pittsburgh haunts, give you a behind-the-scenes look at our client work, and share insights on what inspires us – from art and fashion to music, writing, pop culture, architecture, and, of course, cocktails. 


by SARA LYNN RUTH

The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone.
— James Baldwin

If you want to see the most uninhibited, candid manifestation of a person’s psyche, you won’t find it in any art museum.

 

But I guarantee that you’ve seen it. Maybe you’ve even done it yourself.

 

James Baldwin, American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic, said, “The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone.”

 

…which leads me to my thesis. Public restrooms are the best galleries in the world of unbridled and unchecked human expression.

 

Testimonies made in solitude, away from the world waiting just on the other side of the door.

 

Declarations unplanned. Happening so very much in the moment – occurring in a slice of time with a finite end – with the artist knowing that he or she must soon abandon their canvas, so that another artist can express themselves.

 

Sentiments fueled by love, anger, frustration, alcohol. Articulated through words. Statements. Calls to action. Opinions. Drawings. Collaborations.

 

All working together as such a chance amalgamation of conscious thought that nothing else could possibly exist in that very space, in that very instant.

 

To some, it’s all just thoughtless graffiti. But I disagree.

 

Bathroom wall art shows us who we are at our core. It reveals our rawest, truest selves. Unlike everything else that is flushed away in a restroom, I believe it should be remembered. So I’ve decided to document it. Locally and during my travels, I snap memorable restroom works of art. Below are my personal favorites to date.

 

And… if you ever find yourself at the Fame15 Creative office, take a leak, err I mean look, in our restroom. In it you will find my own personal commitment to this under-recognized genre of art: walls adorned with framed prints of some of these favored potty pieces, as well as a dedicated wall for any squatter to leave his or her mark.

 
Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

Overall Favorite 

“No Tampon in Toilet”, artist unknown, Name of Establishment Long Forgotten, San Francisco, CA

I loved this so much I framed it and put it in my house above the toilet. (My house has fickle plumbing… need I say more?)

 
Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

Most Thought Provoking 

“F*ck Doug”, artist unknown, Round Corner Cantina Ladies Room, Pittsburgh, PA

Who is Doug? Poor Doug.

 
Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

Most Likely to Make You Say “WTF” 

“Mad Pussy”, artist unknown, Name of Establishment Long Forgotten, Somewhere in the USA

Seriously though.

 
Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

Most Unexpected 

“Nice”, artist unknown, Brillobox, Pittsburgh, PA

All I can think of when I see this is how up close and personal this person chose to be with this toilet. 

 

Honorable Mentions

Entire bathroom of Golden Boy Pizza, collaboration of unknown artists, San Francisco, CA  |  Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

Entire bathroom of Golden Boy Pizza, collaboration of unknown artists, San Francisco, CA  |  Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

Mirror in Upstairs Restroom of Remedy, collaboration of unknown artists, Pittsburgh, PA  |  Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

Mirror in Upstairs Restroom of Remedy, collaboration of unknown artists, Pittsburgh, PA  |  Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

“Cat Tail”, artist unknown, Tiki Lounge, Pittsburgh, PA  |  Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

“Cat Tail”, artist unknown, Tiki Lounge, Pittsburgh, PA  |  Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

“Nothing Says I Miss You”, KC + ARL, William Penn Tavern, Pittsburgh, PA  |  Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

“Nothing Says I Miss You”, KC + ARL, William Penn Tavern, Pittsburgh, PA  |  Photography by me (@sara_lynn___ on IG)

Have a piece of bathroom wall art you want to share? Snap it and tag it @fame15creative.