STREET ART: “Beautifying Baltimore one vacant at a time”

Nether 1

Street art on a Baltimore vacant: Bodie Broadus from HBO’s “The Wire.”

Photo by: Nether

If you see some Wire characters popping up in meta fashion on Baltimore vacants, good chance they’re the work of street artist “Nether.” The one above depicts the fictional Preston “Bodie” Broadus, initially a member of the Barksdale organization.

Here’s a link link to Nether’s Flickr page and below is a statement he sent when he offered The Brew some images.

“NETHER is an urban art campaign that hopes to impact and beautify BMORE’s bleakness through vibrant street art with the hopes of evoking public discussion. The pieces that are wheat-pasted to the chosen (usually vacant) surfaces directly comment on the city and the forces that have brought it to its shameful state.

Nether sees his work as a force that solidifies people’s connections to locations in the city that are distinctly Baltimore. He tries to reclaim and recycle the tragic landscape. This city is a place that is simultaneously loved and hated for bringing both contentment and fear, anger and joy; its vibe is a permeating force that becomes part of every mind experiencing its poetic chaos.

The intention is to relentlessly pursue capturing that beauty in the mundane, that excitement in the fear, and whatever force brings out the orange and purple as a heart- felt declaration of true Bmore pride.


– Nether

22nd and Barclay. (By Nether)

22nd and Barclay. (By Nether)

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  • Kali Durga

    Here’s the correct link to Nether’s Flickr page:

    • Anonymous

      thanks, Kali we will put er in there!

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful!  The link did not work but I found Nether.


    People lived there once,
    they sat on the porches
    in their lazy summer slippers,
    chewed the cud
    with their neighbors,
    the boys teased the girls

    from their perches on their bikes,
    they called out as they lurched
    in and out of traffic,
    performing acrobatics,
    Riding hands free
    For the notice and the shouts,
    The boys took those risks
    For the girls on the sidewalks

    who giggled in their hands
    And grinned with their mouths.

    While the mamas of the boys
    begged for them to stop,
    And the mamas of the girls,
    pretended not to watch,
    The neighborhood rapper,
    His pants falling off,

    his cap turned backward,
    Performed his latest song,
    Back and forth he played hopscotch,
    And turned cartwheels as he rhymed,
    Even the show offs on their bikes,
    Stopped to catch his act,
    The sun slanted on them

    in shards of golden light
    It decanted on them
    A warm slice of life,
    Summer in the city 
    was a warm slice of life.

    But today if you go there,
    the area is sad,
    It’s rejected and destroyed,
    boarded up– devoid-
    of anything resembling
    the joy it once had,
    there are scruffy men in corners
    digging through the garbage,
    there are addicts by the lamp posts
    delirious with crack,
    there are drunks on the sidewalks,
    passed out on their backs,
    “How does this happen
    to a vibrant place?” you ask,
    The gut wrenching desolation
    being so vast,
    Those who stumble on it
    are chilled by the shock.

    If fire happened suddenly
    on a cold winter night,
    If people fled the scene
    with the clothes on their backs,
    If some inhaled the smoke
    and died crisply charred,
    Or others concluded that
    the place was bad luck,
    If pushers picked that haven,
    for their business calls,
    If the show offs on the bikes
    got bored and joined gangs,
    If the rapper dropped his songs
    for guns to bang- bang,
    If the mamas on the stoops
    saw matters growing grim,
    and the giggling giddy girls
    knew chances were slim-
    for success to come to them
    in any shape or form,
    Those were possible reasons–
    that neighborhood was gone.

    Urban renewal
    is a promise hard to keep,
    Blight is the rule
    when debt is knee deep,
    Mighty Troy buckled
    and fell on its face,
    By Vesuvius Pompeii
    was invaded and erased,
    The barbarians came
    and razed Rome to the ground,
    To their own rise and fall,
    Cities seem bound,
    Why should Baltimore
    march to a different sound?

    With rows upon rows
    of row houses gone to seed,
    Their curves
    and lines so often bereaved,
    That city has claws,
    Quick to scratch and wound,
    But it can also be sublime,
    Depending on its mood,
    It breeds in its belly
    some unusual folks,
    Who in their hands hold,
    The power of brush strokes,
    They go to those places
    where dereliction rules,
    They let their juices flow,
    through their unique tools.

    A woman in a gas mask,
    Standing tall and ready,
    Becomes the giant symbol,
    of a city under siege,
    When on the surface of a poster,
    she rises like a queen,
    And scorns the devastation,
    of the urban scene,
    Be startled when you see her
    on a shut and boarded door,
    Wheat pasted there by artists
    on a wreck of Baltimore,
    She contains in her statement–
    hurts inflicted on the souls
    of all the struggling cities
    Slowly turning to hell holes………

    Usha Nellore


  • Anonymous

    I tried to edit the poem folks–kind of line it properly and in the process sent it back to you.  Yes, the link does work now.  Wow!  What great pictures you publish.  Things I don’t pick up in other places.  You are a visual feast. Thanks.

  • Nether Street art

    Thanks All! the poem was beautiful.

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