Graffiti Bark (or, how a metal pole can resemble a tree)

Metal street pole with graffiti mimics neighboring tree trunk and bark

Any time you think:

I don’t know how to draw something;

I don’t have the skills;

I don’t have the imagination, the talent, the schooling;

Think about this “graffiti bark”.

Someone scrawled thick black lines on this metal light pole. Nothing new, right? But next to it, there’s a skinny tree. They are about the same size.


Compare the inked black squiggly lines with the tree’s chunky crevices.

Aren’t they surprisingly similar?

Doesn’t the metal post now look like a radically modern version of a tree. How fantastic is that?

Without sweating the details and worrying about what bark really looks like, we have an example of how it can be drawn.

Take away your self-imposed rules that dictate how you should see or draw something. Free up your hand and loosen your mind, let your own interpretations unfold in front of you.

You can draw.

City Hall Tree (or, how the heck does nature do that!?)

Tree limb grown curving backwards around its own trunk

Tree limb grown curving backwards around its own trunk

Tree limb grown curving backwards around its own trunk

We all know about trees; or do we? If pressed to describe one we’d say the trunk is thick and grows straight up and the branches all shoot out to the side and some curve up to the sun.

That’s right.

And then you find a tree that defies all common sense. Take, for example, this tree over by City Hall. I’ve been looking at it for over a year now. The first time I saw it I was flabbergasted. That limb! It’s curving almost completely around to grow the in the opposite direction. I thought maybe it was straining to reach more sun but the sun doesn’t hit that side. This branch is seems to be straining to grow into the shade!

I add it here to offer a pause to our assumptions of trees and their patterns. This one’s is so different that it’s making me wonder what other amazing trees I’ve been missing.