Appreciate the beauty of decay


As a child riding in the backseat I always anticipated the entrance into any big city.  I knew skirting the perimeter of what jewels the city held inside, was surronded by tall abandend buildings rising into the sky.

colorful decay contessacreate

Here is where my imagination and freedom found its sounding board.  Looking high into the sky at falling out windows, and building material flapping in the wind, I saw my future nest.  I was able to see past what my eyes were taking in and change it into exactely how I would build it.  Now older, with a little more perspective on my shoulders, I know I needed the deconstructed visual in order to place my own dreams upon it.  (this manifested 20 some years later when I acquired an empty devasted warehouse space in LA with some friends.  It was a garbage filled construction zone with no walls, or bathrooms.  It now thrives as an art gallery where artists live and work, where art is preserved.)

This is something that has stayed with me throughout my life.  I have a small obsession with falling apart EVERYTHING! I find it utterly beautiful.

staircase decay

The unmasking of layers, the oxidation of physical matter, the soul of something created, morphing into something totally different.

apartment decay

A process so essential, so undefiable.  In the decay of something, holds the potential for sooo much.

Not only in physical form, but metaphorically, in problem solving, and getting through hard times.  Staring decay in the eyes can reveal so much about moving on.

I’ve been haunted by Einstein’s quote “you can’t solve a problem from the same perspective the problem was created.”

Decay is beautiful to me becasue it is a constant reminder that process is ever evolving.

When something is being created it has a motivating force behind it.  Intention, passion, potentail.  Problems along the way are always overshadowed by the eventual success of said creation.  It is only in the decay of this that we are forced to revisit the struggle, the lessons, and the revised potential.  Its a strange devise that in the success of things we rarely learn anything other than the feeling of success.  The post mortem is where the decay becomes the creation

I must say,  the intensity of decay never fails to effect me.  I stare at decaying walls, frustration, unfairness, cruelty, and get caught in what feels like eternal claws.  Then I am reminded that I’m only feeling this way because I’m looking at the decay through the lens of its creation.

lens looking

This beautiful decay requires a completly different lens in order to soak in its own unique beauty.  Sitting in a decaying, rotting, hot mess, cannot feel good when all we can think about is the beauty of what it was suppose to be.

To look at the deconstruction around me, within me, and see it through the eyes of my child,  I again see decays  potential playground…the gooey, sticky sharp decay becomes a different pile of rubble.  In its complete deconstructed form comes the pallet for the next creation.

Much of the time an automatic response when we see something dissintergrating is to stop it.  Preserve further wreckage.  Cover up the signs of decay and carry on as if nothing is happening.  But something is happening, and letting it go to its natural state. Creation to decay can be one of the most beautiful processes to exsist.

What’s your perspective on decay?

What are the hardest parts, or ways of dealing with it?

Post pics of your idea of beautiful decay!!

4 thoughts on “Appreciate the beauty of decay

  1. Since you invited me (=us) to this blogversation via twitter, i will say what’s in my mind after reading your personal view on the beauty of decay.

    First of all: is Deacy a beautiful thing? No. Or, better, it is not a beautiful thing in a classic way, to me, but it manages to amuse me and…it can catch my eyes for so long…

    I lived an entire life travelling with trains from North to South Italy, something like 13 hours of travel with no interruptions; in those travel i passed many cities, i saw many stations, as I saw ruined walls covered by incomplete graffiti or simply plants and leaves. What I tought anytime those things entered my life with their strong image was: “Man, time passed since they were built…and who knows what made them into what they are. What have they seen…what they will see again..”.

    And this bring us to the second and most important part of my post: what i see in Decaying places.
    I see History. I can’t see what they were at the beginning, I can and, more importantly, I will see only what those ruined places are being during theyr transformation. Did that roof crumbled due to massive rains? Those trees divelted that wall? Vandals broke those glasses due to unexplicable rage rampage? I can’t tell for sure, but what I can tell is how different they are from the beginning…they grew up like kids turning into young boys: they were something and now their experiences made them what they are now.

    My conclusion? Well…my conclusion is that this entire blogversation made me think about decayng places from a different point of view and made me realize how i gaze upon ruins and defiled places. I watch them without focusing on the past, i watch them as places that, after their personal tragedy which brought ruin upon them, moved on and kept living.

    “Back then, they were sane, untouched. Now they are broken, but they don’t care, they weren’t destroyed completly and so they will keep on living”.

    Maybe is this the key, maybe is this the reason we, I or someone, anyone can find something fascinating into ruins and abandoned places: those places suffered, but kept living.

      1. Oh, Contessa (for me, it’s a total privilege to be invited into this blogversation and to be able to talk with you, I am dreaming this since your last visit in Florence…).
        Well, I am interested in this conversation expecially cause you mentioned something beauty series…well, I’d like to partecipate and share opinion with you and many others about every chapter of this serie.

  2. I adore decay. As a photographer, I go crazy for decayed textures, fallen walls, torn paper, overgrown spaces where nature has crept inside…
    You can see decay on my website 🙂
    For me, decay is just as beautiful as perfect architecture. It is the art of time, the art of nature…a different kind of beauty crafted by far more invisible hands. I like the idea that walls are full of memories, ghosts….

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