Thursday, August 17, 2006


A New Film Documents One Town’s Automotive Version of Graffiti - New York Times:

STONINGTON, Me., Aug. 12 — Deer Isle and the town of Stonington, at its southern tip, have long served as both muse and home for storied American artists. William and Emily Muir are the stuff of local legend for their work in a variety of mediums, and Stephen Pace has spent time depicting both the idyll and industry of life here.

Mr. Steed’s film, “Tire Tracks,” memorializes the work of so-called burners like Mark Brophy, above, who literally leave their marks, some very elaborate, all over Deer Isle, where Stonington is situated.

Visitors to the island in recent seasons may have noticed that a new artist is making his mark as well: Chuggy, a k a Chuck Proper. That mark usually involves a long strip of angry-looking scalded rubber, which can be seen on many of the island’s twisting roads.

For years, those marks and similar ones have left some locals scratching their heads and visitors anxiously clenching the wheel. It turns out that they are a kind of rural car- and truck-made graffiti — a byproduct of a longtime island ritual that gives this central Maine town character and provides some rugged contrast to the pastoral life here.

And while the work of Chuggy and the native tribe of so-called burners may never hang in one of the dozens of galleries in and near Stonington, their handiwork is being memorialized in “Tire Tracks,” a 40-minute documentary.